Efficient project management is essential to growing your small business and accomplishing long-term goals. Good project management software tools can enhance project management. However, your project manager should quickly recognize problems that begin to take root, even during the initial stages of a project. A decisive and analytical project manager knows to look for specific warning signs and can get your employees back on track.
Basic Issues of Risk
The first warning sign every project manager should watch for is early indications that a project is being diverted from the rules or practices that minimize risk to the project and that may even ultimately threaten company success as a whole. A strong project manager should determine this diversion quickly and reinstitute risk management practices.
Diversion from Time Schedule
A project manager’s job is to see a project through to completion in an efficient and timely way. Having a great plan in place is important, but plans rarely go exactly as scheduled. Straying too far off course is a warning sign that the project is heading downhill quickly. One of the most obvious indications that a project is in danger is that fact that it no longer adheres to the set time schedule.
Before going in to any project, the project manager and the team should be clear about the project’s expected completion date and any important milestones that must be met. If, for example, a project manager becomes aware that the project’s first scheduled milestone has not been met, regardless of how early in the project it is scheduled, the project manager must act quickly. Several factors, including issues with resources and human error, can derail projects from their timetables. It is necessary for the project manager to pinpoint the reasons for the project’s delay to deal with them quickly and avoid them in the future. The project manager must also be prepared to reallocate roles and take on more work to bring the project up to speed.
Diversion from Budget
For small businesses, staying on budget is of great importance. At the outset of any project, a project manager should be entirely certain about the allotted budget for the project, including any specific price limitations for different elements, such as labour or material costs. A project that begins to stray from the assigned budget is a definite warning sign that the project is in trouble.
A competent project manager should always be aware of project expenses and concerned when project expenditures surpass established guidelines. The project manager must then address the issues and problems that have led to overspending. Depending on the severity of the lapse from budget, a project manager may or may not be able to get finances back on track. A responsible manager addresses such concerns with upper management and asks for guidance.