What’s the number one reason why people don’t complete their projects on time? It’s because they haven’t left any room for anything to go wrong, such as interruptions or unexpected problems.
That’s why it’s so important to try to anticipate potential obstacles or changes from the start or at least before they occur. That’s also why it’s important to review your progress constantly and check with team members. Identify any problems as early as possible and devise a plan to avoid or resolve each problem.
When someone gives you a project, ask as many questions as necessary at the start, to understand the project and determine what’s expected as well as is possible.
When you allow room in your plan for things to go wrong, you can be more confident that you’ll meet your deadlines and achieve your goals. Then, you can be optimistic—realistically.
Believe you can meet your deadline: In order to complete a project on time, it’s important to believe that you can do it. Make sure your deadline is achievable and your time frame is realistic. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than to overpromise and underdeliver.
If you don’t believe your deadline is realistic and achievable, be sure you can prove why. Be prepared to offer a solution that is realistic, and to explain why. No one likes a complainer. People like a solution provider.
Identify who you’re going to need: Before you begin, be sure you write down in your plan who you’re going to need help from and when. Check with them to see if they have the time to help and if your expectations and assumptions are correct before you begin!
Identify what could go wrong: As you are putting together your plan, consider this. Have I done anything
like this is the past and what went wrong? The past is an excellent indicator of the future. Now leave room in your plan for things to go wrong. Usually very few things go wrong when you do this. What is the result? You’ll finish early or, worst case, on time.
“Have a clear vision of what’s important to your leader. Make sure you know exactly what he or she wants the end result to be or look like. It’s faster to ask questions and be 100 percent right than to start with little or no information and have to do it all over again.”