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Sharing the load: How delegating and overseeing tasks more effectively will help your projects succeed

  • Written by Brendan Maree, Vice President and Country Manager ANZ at ProHance

Smarter workload management can deliver optimal productivity and results.

Does your organisation have a project or projects scheduled for the next 12 months? Or perhaps they’re already in train and not running as smoothly as you’d hoped?

If you answered yes to the latter, you’re far from alone. Research shows that almost half of all organisations have had a project founder or fail in the past year.

In some cases, that’s been unavoidable; the inevitable result of deteriorating market conditions or a lack of available resources.

In others, poor leadership and outdated processes are to blame. When tasks aren’t assigned in an effective and efficient way, and projects teams aren’t pulling together to achieve a common goal, it’s all too easy for milestones to be missed and costs to overrun.

Why workload management matters

How can this be prevented? Better workload management is the short answer. It’s the key to improving project health and productivity and the morale of your team.

Proactively managing your project workload can assist you to predict bottlenecks and delays and devise strategies to ameliorate them. Evaluating whether more resources will be needed becomes easier and so does determining who are your most effective contributors and suppliers.

How best to do all this is the $64 million question for program and project managers.

Here are some tips to help you hit your targets and contain your costs on the projects in your pipeline this year.

Take time to plan

Fail to plan, plan to fail, as the old saying has it. That’s why it pays to identify and document the required tasks, set realistic estimates for how long they’ll take to complete and specify start and end dates for each project phase. Having a detailed project timetable in place will help you monitor time and track progress.

Determine the availability of resources

Human resources are finite and it pays to deploy them as efficiently as possible. Hence, it’s critical to determine who you have available to you and what you want them to accomplish in a given period of time. This can be a complex exercise if you’re running multiple projects concurrently and key personnel are toggling between them. A resource management solution can take the hard work and hassle out of moving the chess pieces around and ensure you make best use of your people’s time and talents.

Develop a capacity plan

While the typical project will inevitably involve a few long days and late nights, these shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. Overburdening your team is counterproductive and will result in contributors burning out or failing to deliver their best work. Timely task distribution management will enable your workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance and assist you to determine when additional resources are needed to keep things moving at the required pace.

Understand your task dependencies

Project management can be a bit like completing a jigsaw – all the pieces need to fit together to form a complete picture. Documenting your task dependencies in detail – you need to do x but not until y is done – will help you identify and address potential roadblocks before they result in time and cost blow-outs.

Meet with your team frequently

Clear, effective communication is the best way to ensure everyone in your project team stays on the same page. Holding frequent, regular stand-ups – 10 minutes each morning is ideal – gives contributors the opportunity to learn about their colleagues’ progress, understand the upcoming milestones and the tasks needed to hit them, and work through issues as they arise.

Manage change effectively

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…and when they do it pays to have a Plan B, C and D. Doing so will help you manage unexpected scenarios and ensure your team and project stay on track.

Keep track of time

Time is money. Keeping track of the minutes and hours your team members are expending on project tasks will help you identify whether an individual is being worked too hard, or if processes and practices need to be overhauled to make them more efficient.

Turning to technology

Improving the way you manage your workforce can be challenging, in the absence of the right tools. An operations enablement and workforce platform can provide you with the insights you need to manage your project teams more effectively. If delivering your pipeline of projects on time and on budget is a priority for your organisation this year, it’s foundation technology you can’t afford not to have in your tech stack.


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