Project teams frequently have several projects in active status simultaneously, along with keeping an eye on a stream of initiatives that are working their way through the various stages of planning and development. When things are moving at a good rhythm, groups can remain productive and efficient as they close out completed projects and shift new efforts into active status.
But when your next project experiences a delay, your team’s normal practices might tilt off balance. Sometimes it’s because you don’t have a repeatable process to smoothly transition to the next project. In other instances, maybe you haven’t kept the executive team in the loop on the importance of launching that next key initiative on time. No matter the reasons, a lag in starting your next project could add up to big trouble.
Teams that maintain awareness of their project portfolio’s health, however, are well positioned to keep their project launches on track and avoid potential risks. If you’ve struggled with poor productivity or other problems when initiatives sat idle, consider some of the reasons why now is a great time to start your next project.
Your project scope won’t experience pre-launch fiddling
Some project sponsors are notorious for trying to expand the scope of their pet initiatives until you finally tell them they can’t anymore. Budget approvals—usually a clear sign the scope is fixed and what you see if what you get—aren’t even enough to stop them from pushing for new deliverables. And the longer the project sits in limbo, having received the go-ahead but not yet truly underway, the longer your sponsors and other influential supporters have to wreak havoc on your project scope. To protect your project’s parameters and ensure your team can meet stakeholders’ expectations for the effort, it’s best if you begin executing activities as soon as is practicable.
Your budget won’t be “borrowed” by other projects
Approved funds have a way of disappearing if they sit around too long. Maybe another project team’s initiative suffered an oh-no moment, and they suddenly need a bucket of money to fix it. Or a chronically underfunded department learns they have a new compliance mandate to meet, and it requires (you guessed it) a bucket of money. If your project has a bucket of money that isn’t currently in use, you can be sure someone is eyeballing it.
Your team members won’t be pulled off to support other efforts
Experienced project professionals are always in demand, and an organization supporting a busy project pipeline can easily consume a huge number of personnel resources. Team members who may have lightened their workloads in preparation for the activities in your project are likely to be wooed by other groups, potentially leaving you short-handed when your initiative finally gets off the ground.
Your productivity won’t suffer
Supporting big workload swings can be difficult for project teams. That means the longer your group’s activity levels are low, the more opportunity there is for people to lose their momentum. Staffing, materials, expertise, sponsor support—it can all take a hit if the gap between focusing on a project’s approval and launching activities drags on too long. Getting a project going soon after receiving the go-ahead helps to keep any issues raised during the planning stage top of mind, and key resources are also more likely to be at hand while everything is fresh. Any cost efficiencies you anticipated gaining by tagging onto equipment already onsite from earlier efforts, or contract personnel transitioning from a previous project to yours, could evaporate if those resources scatter as a result of a delayed start