Kelli Schmith (@MarketingVeep on Twitter) posed a question via Twitter recently about what project management techniques people use on marketing communications efforts to bring them to closure when running out of time. That's an intriguing question, and it caused me to list (in no particular order) project management techniques I employ when time is running down to complete a project:

  • Figure out what we’re delivering that hasn’t been promised and stop spending time on these things.
  • Cut out clear “nice to haves.”
  • Eliminate unexpected things whose absence won’t be missed.
  • Remove things whose presence just makes the overall project look more incomplete.
  • Work with an explicit “better done than perfect” mentality.
  • Go with "high-probability" answers (vs. waiting around for "certain" answers).
  • Identify things with longer lead times or that someone else still needs to work on, and get them done first.
  • Force making decisions (and then not revisiting them any further).
  • Check if there are alternative organizational approaches for the project that move it to completion more rapidly.
  • Ask for help from incredibly dependable team members (if they haven’t been involved in the effort already).
  • Create a new to do list with color coding to make important tasks stand out.
  • Start assembling physical elements of the project in an open space (when working with computer files, create a new empty folder of final deliverables so it’s clear what’s done).
  • Develop a negotiating strategy if it appears trade-offs will need to be made with the end client.
  • Make a short list of things easily addressed or fixed "later than sooner."
  • Think more, talk less, and do - like crazy!

That’s what I came up with trying to think about situations when time has been running down on projects previously.

What project management techniques do you use when your preparation time is running down?Mike Brown

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