How many times have you or your team missed the deadline? Remember the feeling? Of course, it’s not Wild West anymore and no one will be shot just because some scope of work wasn’t completed on the defined time. Although missed deadlines for some projects might mean not only lack of meeting revenue goals but also its complete death.
For the development team deadline might be associated with numerous hours of extra work with an enormous number of coffee mugs in front of the monitor, lack of sleep, constant rush and anxiety trying to get things done on time. Why do we see it that way in the first place and what has influenced our perception?
There are several obvious reasons for this all to happen:
- Lack of clear goals
Along with simply completing tasks, a project plan should draw up a certain vision of goals, strategy, and expectations in order to get you to the real destination point.
- Frequent tasks modification
The continuous desire for improvement is highly commendable, although frequent changes of tasks might result in significant delays in the project delivery.
- Poor tracking system
Without a unified tracking system, it is quite hard to see the project’s progress and its chances to successfully meet the deadline.
- Lack of the project owner participation
Having the timely response from the client is crucial as it helps to keep the project on track by receiving a prompt feedback about the product and its updates along with well-timed decisions in case issues appear.
Surely, each project is unique and has a list of other possible reasons for the inability to meet deadlines. But what’s really matters is that not only the development team is responsible for that but also the project owner.
While some see a negative connotation in this word, a deadline is an ordinary thing in a software development project that helps to meet goals, move further over the tasks and run smoothly the whole business. And it doesn’t have to be all that negative—just a few measures and your team can easily meet the deadlines without all the fuss. Interested? Let’s see how to help a team to come out winning at deadlines every single time!
Main tips on how to help your development team meet the deadline
#1. Get professionals involved
To set realistic deadlines a discussion with a tech professional is important. With a technical documentation created by specialists who accurately define all project requirements and functionality is really important to meet the deadline. As from the technical side, there is a number of ways to implement the same functionality along with many other aspects to consider before setting a time limit for the execution itself.
#2. Set clear goals
As mentioned above, clear goals with smaller tasks help to see a clear and understandable mission. This way your team members know exactly what is expected from them in the long run and within a certain task. Also, you will have a chance to find out their opinion and make sure they are comfortable with the goals and deadlines set which makes them feel more involved in the project development.
#3. Specify smaller tasks
Goals give you a general vision of the project perspective. It can be reached by making smaller steps. Setting a real deadline for a complex project can be challenging. By breaking a project into smaller iterations with a clear set of tasks reduces possible chaos and creates a perfect ground for reaching deadline without any fuss and in a timely manner.
#4. Let the team set deadlines
A certain phycology factor plays an important role here. People become more proactive and receive a deeper satisfaction from completing the tasks they have picked and agreed upon. So in most cases, a great approach for successful project development is to give a chance for each team member to participate in estimating and determining their own tasks.
Communication is essential equally before setting a deadline and within the execution stage. Only the project owner knows all the ins and outs of the way everything should work. So you should check how the development process goes from time to time, give well-timed feedback on the overall work and recent updates along with answering any questions that might appear in between.
This way you will know the status of each project development stage and be sure that it is within the determined deadline. Not to mention, the open environment that communication creates inside the team which makes it easier to resolve issues and conflicts. Asking questions and listening to the team needs is essential for the overall project success.
The more complex project you have the more time it needs for implementation. When your team starts fresh a high enthusiasm drives the work. But as time goes motivation tends to drop somehow. For a project owner, it is another challenge to keep good motivation within the whole way among all team members. As it defines quality and, what’s here important, execution time. From a simple word of appreciation to rewarding with a leadership role.
Remember that each individual might require a different approach. Surely, it’s up to you to decide. The main point here is to make your team feel they invest their recourses into a really valuable and worthy thing.
#7. Use project management tools
In the era of automatization, it would be a wonder if someone performs management tasks “by hands”. There are plenty of great planning tools that will definitely improve the effectiveness of project management. For example, in S-SPO Jira, Trello and a number of other convenient tools are widely used.
Such tools will save time for every team member by centralizing all planning in one place. All you need to choose the best tool or a set of those for your team so each member could easily manage own tasks, delegate to others, and update each task’s status in real time.
#8. Allocate performance issues
It requires visibility to identify possible performance issues that some team members might cause. Your responsibility is to identify the person, what areas it all influences and make up a proper decision. Again, a transparent management tool will be of great help here.
In order to resolve the allocated issues, you might consider different methods—from extra coaching to contract termination. But before you come to a final decision, make sure you’ve tried various flexible approaches to resolve the problem in the most appropriate way. Addressing such issues will boost the performance of the rest of the team for sure.
#9. Lead by example
As it happens, any leader sets an example for a team. People watch your behavior, decisions, vision and compare whether your words fit your actions.
So to earn the trust of the team you should better be consistent in your actions and set a really good example. In order to make your team trust you, be consistent in what you do and set an example for them. This is another factor that unites the team, motivates them to follow your vision and additionally encourage to meet deadlines. Certain productivity hacks might be of use!
A deadline might sound harsh but it helps you to organize the time, set priorities and motivates to keep going. Delivering a project within an established time builds customer’s trust, forms a business reputation and heavily contributes to the project’s success.
All parties involved—from business owners to the development team—should participate in accomplishing a common goal to deliver a quality project in a timely manner. Follow the tips from this article to help your development team to meet the deadline!