Managing Bottlenecks. Good Project Management is a lot like avoiding traffic

12 May 2017
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Living in one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, Montreal is infamous for its traffic jams caused by never ending construction and growing population.  In a recent report it confirmed that the typical Montrealer that has a 30 minute commute loses 92 hours a year to traffic. The reality of this loss is astronomical impacting businesses, the environment and in some cases health issues that result from increased stressed levels and the broadened carbon footprint.  Although strategies to mitigate traffic issues  exist, similar to the project management world, it only takes one unexpected change of event to occur and you will end up in gridlock.

Seasoned project managers understand that “gridlock” in their projects are inevitable and good planning incorporates strategies to respond to the unexpected.  Although issues will arise and delays will happen,  an experienced project manager has the ability to get things back on track as quickly as possible by effectively leveraging strategic practices and scheduling techniques in project management that can mean the difference between hitting and missing deadlines.

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself if you are having difficulties managing project bottlenecks:

1) What tools and strategies do you have in place to ensure that the lines of communication are open keeping all your stakeholders in the loop?  The reality is, most bottlenecks emerge and/or are compounded by the “broken telephone” syndrome that causes unnecessary delays that can  be easily addressed with the right collaboration tools in place, such as project report software and or budget management software. 

2) Have you incorporated a risk strategy into your plan?  Understanding the potential level of risk in your plan will better prepare you to address bottlenecks quicker and increase the success rate of activities and projects.

3) What visibility do you have into the entire portfolio of projects?  Very often bottlenecks are linked to bigger issues such as changes in portfolio prioritizations, corporate objectives and shifts in resources.  Visibility into the bigger picture can help guide project managers in implementing preventive measures causing these bottlenecks.

4) What alert system do you have in place to inform you of changes and issues?  Knowledge is power.  The quicker you are notified of issues and changes the quicker they can be addressed.  Having an alert system in place will make sure you are always on top of your game

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