Successfully designing websites on budget generally means that you have to beat project deadlines in order to keep within allocated time schedules. It doesn’t matter what type of projects you work on, if you can beat a deadline you’ll be in high demand, have lots less stress and you’ll have a reputation for delivering good work, on time and to budget. Here’s how to do it.
Set Realistic and Attainable Project Deadlines
The easiest way to miss a deadline is overestimating what you can do and how fast you can do it. Always assume something unexpected is going to happen and work in a cushion to your deadlines just in case; that way you can avoid stress when something does happen.
Set Project Deadlines in Stone
Once you set a deadline, tell yourself it is set in stone and you must meet it or beat it. Since you put in a cushion before setting the deadline, this means that you should be able to get the project finished before the deadline is reached, if all goes as well.
Organize and Plan Efficiently
Part of setting deadlines is learning how to plan and organize efficiently and economically. Set up systems and procedures of tasks that you do for every project, having systems in place eliminates the problem of forgetting any aspect of your project and will help keep you on track.
Use a Calendaring System
You can’t really do anything online without a calendar, today online calendars can sync with your smartphones so that there is no reason to forget anything. Train yourself to look at your calendar every evening and every morning so that you avoid forgetting anything. Do not rely on memory, eventually it will let you down.
Communicate Deadlines to Team Members
If you work with others, such as vendors or service providers, team members, it’s imperative that you communicate deadlines to them in a way that they understand the importance of the deadlines and make each of them responsible for meeting their own deadline for the task they are performing.
Do the Most Productive Things First
If you are not sure where to start, and you can identify items that aren’t order sensitive, then you can start right on them. Sometimes just getting something done can unleash more creativity. Depending upon the project, it is often possible to start on something while waiting for feedback from a client, this is especially so with websites as we can often start on a plugin development or some custom coding while waiting for content.
A large project is simply lots of smaller tasks coupled together, so the best tactic is to break up a large project into small, bite sized pieces that you can easily tackle a little at a time, this will help ensure you meet your deadlines. Setting smaller deadlines throughout the project will also help keep you on track.
Start at the End
Write down what must be done to constitute a final deliverable on your project, then work backwards to today assigning yourself and others tasks that will ensure the project is done on time.
The first thing you should do for any project is to make plans ahead of time to get the things done that need to be done. They say that “failing to plan is planning to fail” and nothing can be truer than when it comes to project management.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to do everything yourself, outsourcing aspects of any project will help you focus on what you do best and help ensure you meet deadlines, but do ensure the people you outsource to have deadlines to meet, that tie in with yours.
If you really want to hit deadlines, it requires organization, planning and dedication to be self-disciplined enough to follow the plan you created for yourself and others to meet your goals. It all starts, of course, with that realistic project deadlines, and advanced planning. A good project management system doesn’t hurt either and the more you plan your projects, and the more systems and procedures you have the easier it becomes.