Finding out that a project is running ahead of schedule might seem like a great piece of news. After all, the real problems tend to begin when projects fall behind schedule. But could getting ahead of the plan actually be a bad thing?
It is important to work out why you are now ahead of schedule. Doing this will ensure that you can see whether something is truly wrong or not.
Probably the most worrying reason for getting ahead of schedule is when the plan is wrong. This document is there to guide you through the whole piece of work as smoothly as possible.
The PRINCE2 methodology puts a lot of emphasis on the comprehensive planning work that is carried out at the beginning. If you get this part then it may cause you to doubt what else in the project could be lacking.
When you discover that you aren’t sticking closely to the plan this is a good moment to go over it in detail. Did a lack of experience cause the issue or is there a deeper problem that you need to know about?
Your PRINCE2 plan will be split up into a series of milestones and tasks. Therefore, it should be relatively easy to work out exactly where you went wrong by looking into the details.
Have you rushed through a part of the project far quicker than you expected to? This isn’t necessarily a problem but it can be a sign that you haven’t carried out each task as thoroughly as you wanted to.
With a bit of luck, you will realise that you went too quickly before it is too late to do something about it. This is one of the reasons why reporting and tracking are so important in the PRINCE2 approach, as it means that it is easier to keep everything on track.
A nice reason for getting ahead of plan is if your team members have been working highly efficiently. This could mean that they have carried out the work a lot more easily than you had expected them to.
If this is the case then it is something to bear in mind for the next project that you work on together. Getting the plan right according to their skills and experience is preferable to getting ahead of the plan.
Are they advanced enough to take their own PRINCE2 Courses London and run projects on their own? The moment to encourage their development towards becoming project managers could have arrived.
If none of the other points appear to be correct then there is a final possibility that needs to be considered. Could it be that you just missed out a part of the project completely?
This would an extremely worrying discovery. Will it ruin the whole thing? Is it possible to go back and carry out the work that has been missed just now, or is it too late to fix the situation?
If you have missed a chunk of your PRINCE2 project then you need to act swiftly to get it back on track again. This may be possible but it is likely to lead to some stressful moment as you try to sort things out.
By far the best approach is to draw up a reasonable, achievable project plan and then stick to it. However, if you do slip off track at some point then don’t just give up without looking into the details fully first of all.