One Step Ahead..Avoiding Missed Deadlines.

3 tips for anticipating challenges that can lead to missed project deadlines

If you’ve worked on projects where deadlines are present you’ve likely been tripped up and frustrated by the sometimes unexpected curve balls that can cause you to miss your deadline. Certainly, there are a myriad of reasons why the completion of a project might miss its intended target date. The key is to anticipate some of the more likely things that can go wrong.

With that in mind, here are three potential scenarios to be on the lookout for so that you can stay ahead and be consistent in meeting deadlines:

Miscalculating the scope of the project.
Let’s say the boss has asked you to create a report summarizing the sales results of the Midwest region for the month of May, and you need to have the report completed in 2 days. No problem, right? Except that you forgot that the Midwest region was actually doubled in size 4 months ago when a whole new division was added. The bottom line is, before beginning a project take a close look at the project as a whole – ensuring yourself that you’ve covered all the possible bases before moving toward meeting your deadline.

Relying on the timeliness of other people.
In completing the sample project above, you may need to depend on someone else to provide some information. For example, maybe a sales administrator needs to give you the latest numbers for the total sales of a particular product, and you’ve asked them to supply the information within hours...which is not an unreasonable request since all the data is already in their computer.
The point here is: always keep in mind that although for the most part you can typically count on co-workers to respond to your needs, they may not be as time-motivated as you because the project is not their ultimate responsibility. Tip: in an email, be sure to reiterate the time-sensitive nature of your request, and ask them to reply back that they indeed will meet your two-hour turnaround.

Forgetting that there will be revisions and corrections. Almost no project goes through completely unscathed, with zero changes or updates. Build the time needed to make the revisions and corrections into the completion time for your project. Remember, your boss will probably not differentiate between the first draft of a project and its final version...he or she is really only interested in when the project is finished, revisions and all.