By Bill Flury
You had a disappointing project meeting. Two of your task leaders reported that they were at least a week behind schedule. One reported that his four week task would have to be completely re-done. The only good news was that one task had been done a week early and the other two were right on schedule. Total slippage of five staff weeks.
That was Yesterday
Today, you woke up with what is really a “new project”. Your new project has the same set of deliverables and the same due date as yesterday’s project. Three deliverables have had some work done on them already and you have been allocated enough time to complete them by the due date. Two other deliverables are partially complete but both will require an extra two weeks of effort to complete properly and on schedule. One, the most disappointing one, was done wrong and that one has to be done over completely.
Your personal mantra is “Always finish each project on time on budget and with a satisfied client — No Matter What Happens”. How will you do that?
It’s time for Plan B. Plan B is your plan for completing all the work still to be done. If you have some reserve staff time you can reallocate some of that and show that in Plan B. If you don’t have sufficient reserves to finish in good order, plan B will have to include your plan to get what you need.
Plan B starts today and runs forward to the due date. It shows how you plan to complete all the work by then. What you heard yesterday set the starting point for your new plan. Now you have a plan to get from now to the end.
Plan B calls for another progress meeting a week from now. If all is proceeding according to the plan, Plan B will remain in effect. If there are any significant deviations from Plan B it will be time for another “new project” and Plan C.
Someone told me once that “A good project manager thinks like there’s no yesterday and works like there’s no tomorrow”. That’s how this works. What happened yesterday is done and can’t be undone. Forget yesterday. Solve today’s problem with a plan for tomorrow.
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