Planning Projects With Strict Timelines

A short guide on how to plan urgent projects and bring them to fruition effectively.

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Time waits for no one and it is just as crucial as it is barbaric. Successful projects stick to their timelines and blessed are the ones that get it aplenty. So, what about the projects that are not that lucky in terms of the extent of their lifecycle? Are they doomed from the very beginning or can they be salvaged?

Projects are, more often than not, subjected to very strict timelines, depending on the nature of business, plans that are designed to be time-crucial, amongst many other reasons. It is a major factor to consider through every step of a project, even when looking for new development companies to work or partner with.

It takes immaculate planning to be able to execute projects successfully with strict timelines and there are some things that you have to consider while building a plan. This article will divert your attention towards some points that can help you plan projects that are under strict deadlines more effectively.

Build a detailed Requirement Document

Writing a business requirement document might not be the first thing to do on your list, but it should be. A well-written document not only details all the nitty-gritty details of your project but also helps bring all stakeholders on the same page. It sets the tone right and serves as a solid base to set goals and expectations upon, defining roles and responsibilities of every team member involved in a thorough manner.

If you want to know more about what a Business Requirement Document is and how to build a good one, read this article.

Identify Tech Stacks Beforehand

Keeping quality in check is of utmost importance when it comes to building a product. If it’s based on tech, identifying the tech stack while you’re setting the vision and imagining what the product would be like is always a plus. Choosing a tech stack that fits the bill completely helps elevate the quality of your product multifold and also reduces the time taken to get to building the actual product considerably. Research is your tool here. Keep your research bulletproof and you’ll be golden. If you’re not tech savvy, take the assistance of the company you’re partnering with to help you with it.

Choosing The Right Team

People who are good at what they do would immediately know how to handle roadblocks and work around them, even if the solution is not ideal. People who are not adept will push timelines trying to figure out the best possible way to fix an issue and that should not be acceptable if you’re pressed for time. This characteristic plays a major role when it comes to looking for the right development partner firm to work with. Make sure you find a partner that has a good track record of delivering projects on time and do not tolerate compromises with quality. There are a lot of other factors that influence looking for a partner as well. You can read about these in this article.

Assumptions, Risks & Dependencies

When in the early stages of planning, make sure to spend a considerable amount of time making valid assumptions and assessing risks to the best of your ability. While you do that, also figure out possible solutions and workarounds to overcome those risks and keep the actual execution smooth and hassle-free. With this done and set in place, every roadblock you encounter would be anticipated to a certain degree and countermeasures would be set in place.
Also, take the time to talk about 3rd party dependencies and eliminate them as soon as possible, as they can be massively time consuming.

All this can be made possible by preparing an effective project schedule. Plan sprints realistically with clear goals and deliverables that are achievable. Using Agile works best in such scenarios as it gives you the freedom and flexibility to move things around to fit the ever-changing circumstances.

Communicate & Leave Some Padding

I am very aware of the fact that every piece I write focuses on communication. It is only so because I can never stress enough on its importance. Constant communication is the actual key to success and you need to communicate with your team members. If there’s a problem, communicate. If there is progress, communicate. If there are changes, convey them as soon as you must. Keep a sharp eye on the quality of the product being built as well. Making sure that the quality of the product matches the expectations can save a lot of refactoring and redo time.

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Test Well & Expect The Unexpected

Testing a product rigorously and putting it through breakpoint is the only way to know if your product is ready for the world or not. It is amazing if the engineers and QA teams are dragging your product to the depths of hell and back while testing it, but also indulge yourself in some User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Use the product first hand and see it from a consumer’s perspective. Only proceed forward when your product delivers the experience you want it to.

...and most importantly, leave some time for the unexpected. Nothing ever really goes to plan and you should be prepared for things that you might run into that were not anticipated. Maybe builds will fail, code will break or express changes might come your way. Be ready to deal with such things so as to not slow down the overall progress of the project.

Bonus Tip:

Productivity does not only come from hard work. It comes from mental and physical well being. Timelines may be very strict, but make sure to keep the work-life balance of your team members in check. Exhaustion will be your biggest enemy and you have to make sure everyone avoids it like the plague. Keep time for recreation and other things. This will bring you back to work with a ready-to-go attitude and will make things smoother and faster.

Conclusion

Planning a project is not child’s play and it requires careful observation and immaculate execution to build a successful product within time constraints. I hope these tips will help you develop the right mindset to approach projects wrapped in strict deadlines.

Thanks for reading.

Godspeed.

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