7 Ways to Avoid a Bottleneck in Your Next Project

7 Ways to Avoid a Bottleneck in Your Next Project

That much dreaded bottleneck in a big project can make you feel like the world is ending. While any project will come with small obstacles, a bottleneck can slow you down to a dangerous pace.

In order to avoid certain aspects of your project coming to a halt, incorporate bottleneck protection into your strategy.

1. Make The Backup Plan a Part of the Original Plan

It’s always a great idea to have something to fall back on. Have a plan B for as many aspects of your project as possible. If the original idea seems to be slowing you down, or even falls through, you won’t feel like you’re without options. You can revert to your backup plan, and you’ll hardly need to slow down to do it.

2. Incorporate Quicker Modes of Communication

Waiting on email responses back and forth can take a tremendous amount of time. This is the time you could have spent achieving your goals. Arrange to communicate directly several times a week. When something is really important, just pick up the phone. The faster you get the answers or feedback you need, the faster you can get back to work.

3. Always Overestimate Your Budget

Nothing will put a bottleneck in your project faster than running out of money. Getting more money, particularly if it’s a large amount, is difficult. Having to figure out how to complete your project without the money you need is next to impossible. Always put some significant padding in your budget. If you complete it with money to spare, that’s fantastic. If things get more expensive than you had initially anticipated, it won’t be the end of the world.

4. Do Frequent Progress Checks

If your project involves a lot of people, you won’t know if everyone is on the same page unless you’re doing frequent progress checks. If one person falls behind, this can slow down the progress of the entire team. By checking in with each person as often as possible, you’ll know if someone needs to pick up the pace or get some help.

5. Delegate Wisely

Be sure that everyone’s role in the project is aligned with their strengths. If the members of your team aren’t capable of performing a certain task with accuracy, it’s time to hire someone who can. Let people do the things they’re great at. There’s less room for error and more assurance that they’ll be able to tend to things in a timely manner.

6. Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Did you plan to take a week when you really needed a month? Sometimes a bottleneck is the result of unrealistic expectations – the world simply can’t move as fast as you thought it could. Give yourself a little more time than you really need, even if you set deadlines for your team members that are much sooner than the definitive deadline. You won’t feel the need to panic.

7. Work Around Your Obstacles

A bottleneck in one area is not a bottleneck in all areas. If progress in one area is temporarily halted, work on all the other things you can be working on. If you need to go through a huge pile of documents to pull a few papers, now’s the best time to do it. Start optimizing your website. Clean and organize your work area. Just make the most of your idle moments, and you won’t feel like you’re stagnating.

In the occasional event that a bottleneck is completely unavoidable, use it as an opportunity to improve the strength of the overall quality of the project. We all learn when we face obstacles.

Posted by Michelle Arios

Michelle Arios
Michelle Arios is a Project Assistant Manager and Careers Consultant, currently supporting BizDb.co.nz - an online library of business knowledge. Whenever not working, Michelle enjoys spending her time listening to motivational speeches or reading self-improvement literature. Feel free to find her at @MichelleArios.

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