We’ve all been there. Our project plan is in place, we’re ready to tackle a project, and then it derails. It’s easy to panic, and as a project manager, I’ve been in this situation many times. Let my lessons help you! Here’s how to steer your ship and keep your clients and colleagues happy.
Reset and make a new plan
At this point, things have not gone according to plan, but you can still get back on track.
- Take a deep breath.
- Review what’s happened so far
- Identify where/how things went wrong
- Use this to guide your next steps moving forward
Just because the project didn’t follow your original plan doesn’t mean you should throw it out the window and wing it the rest of the way. It’s important to be able to pivot and rework your plan to keep things moving toward the finish line.
This is crucial! As you figure out how to proceed, make a list of the progress you’ve already made and what still needs to get done.
- Lists are a great way for me to stay organized, because I love the satisfaction of being able to cross a task off my list once it’s been completed, but that isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone.
- Figure out what works for you, whether it’s having sticky notes on your desk, setting reminders on your phone or creating calendar events on your computer.
Being organized and staying on top of your to-do list is going to help set you up for success.
In my experience, there can never be too much communication about a project. Having more information is always better than not having enough!
- To ensure the rest of the project goes smoothly, make sure you are communicating with both your internal team as well as the client so everyone’s on the same page.
- Be clear with the client about next steps and what needs to happen to get things back on track. This helps put them at ease that the project will still be completed by its deadline.
- Additionally, having an added priority to communicate more frequently with others will help hold you accountable to make sure things are moving at the right pace.
In a perfect world, every project would always stay on track and be delivered on time, but that just isn’t reality. And if you always deliver projects on track and on time, it’d be great if you could let the rest of us in on your secret. 😉
Like life, projects take unexpected turns. It’s all how we respond and pivot. Here’s to successful projects, happy clients and less stressed project managers!