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What Happened to Your Timeline?

As a project manager, has this ever happened to you? You have an exciting project to manage. The kick-off meeting went great. The client is wonderfully engaged. The budget is perfect for the scope. The project plan and timeline fit your company like a glove. You have the perfect resources lined up to execute a great course module. Everything looks great.

But now, two months have now gone by and the project is behind schedule, and missing milestones on the timeline. Even more worrisome, the project is in danger of being over budget. What happened?

Common Pitfalls in Project Management

Your main contact – Is your contact the subject matter expert (SME)? What is your contact’s experience in eLearning? Is your contact mainly responsible for providing eLearning to their organization or is your contact someone tasked with securing a course module with no experience? It is important to get to know the client and where they fit in their organization as you build a relationship with them.

Client processes – Is there a good understanding of the client’s internal processes? Is your main contact the decision maker? Who reviews and approves the various deliverables? Is it one person or a committee? It is vital to have a clear picture and understanding of your client’s internal approval processes and build that process within the timeline.

Client provided content – Do you have everything you need from the client? Are the files and provided content current? If your client needs to update content and/or files during the project, it slows down the instructional design and development. The next thing you know, the timeline is irrelevant. It also adds to scope and budget creep.

Scope and budget creep – Yeah, this can be creepy. It can sneak up on you before you realize it. All the little requests to change this or add that little extra bit of content during either the instructional design or development phases takes time and resources. In addition, the “Can we make it do this?” requests may seem reasonable but will add time to the project.

Statement of Work – Do you have a detailed scope to from which to work? Does the scope spell out the development tools to be used or what platforms and browsers the module is to be presented on? Did you totally review with the client the phases of work and what is and is not permitted during those processes? Do you caution the client about delays in approval or when they try to add or change content? Sometimes it is hard to say no to clients when little requests that are outside the scope seem so reasonable and we want to please them.

Challenging but Rewarding

If you’re a Project manager, you’ve had things not go as planned. But you enjoy working with your client and getting to know them and their organization. You get great satisfaction from managing the process and helping your team solve issues while producing great results for your client. The work is challenging, but it is also very rewarding.

Stay tuned for the next, Project Management & eLearning Timelines – Part 3.

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