Deadlines are an important aspect of project management. They provide structure, clarity, and accountability to the project team. By setting realistic and achievable deadlines, you can ensure that your project is completed on time, on budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.


So let's look at how to set a realistic deadline that will benefit your team and project?

But first, it's important to understand why deadlines are burning.

Here are some of the main reasons why this happens:

  • several people responsible for one task (in this case, employees constantly shift responsibility to each other);
  • there are no responsible people at all (in this case, the task is passed to each team member in turn);
  • tasks require sequential execution (solving one task begins after the previous one is completed, and then one unfulfilled task slows down the entire process);
  • uneven distribution of workload (when some employees perform too many tasks, while others do nothing);
  • failure to take into account the qualifications and skills of team members before estimating the time to complete a project.


How to set realistic deadlines that benefit the team?

  • Consult with the entire team

Ask employees to estimate their own time and explain their estimates. Often, everyone knows best how much time they will need to complete a task.


  • Compare with past tasks

If you've already had similar projects, analyze how long it took to complete them. 


  • Estimate tasks 

Estimate the time to complete each individual task and then summarize it. For best results, compare the figure with the overall project estimate.


  • Assess risks

Add 15-20% of the project time for unforeseen situations (e.g., a suddenchange in the terms of performance, transfer of performance to another team);

Do not take into account the entire resource. Consider only 80% of employees' working time. This insures the project against sick leave and other unexpected factors.


  • Write down absolutely all the actions included in the estimated time 

The client may not understand what activities you include in the allotted time. Write down exactly what you will do by the deadline.


At the very least, if you are not confident in your skills, you can hire an expert to estimate the time required. In this case, it's better to focus on a person with experience in management and your field: estimating the time to complete a website promotion project and estimating the time to complete a house construction project are two completely different estimates, and they are done differently. 


In conclusion

Determining a realistic project deadline can be a challenge, but by following these strategies, you can ensure that your project is on track. Don't forget to account for unforeseen circumstances, break the project into smaller tasks, and communicate more within the team to ensure a successful outcome.

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