Are You the Bottleneck?

Are You the Bottleneck?

Attention: open in a new window. PDF | Print |

Do you ever hear people complain at times about what keeps them from completing projects/tasks on schedule? Well, often times it’s not because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, but, because of what someone else didn’t deliver on time. We’ve all worked on some project or task that has involved assistance from one or more people. The people involved more than likely were given a task and an expected timeframe to complete it. But, how often was that project/task completed outside of the expected timeframe? I’ve been managing projects for well over 11 years and have worked with many project teams and the result of missed timelines happens more often than not. The reasons for those missed timelines can be vast.

So what prompted this article? I was asked by my Manager “what pains do you have?” I thought about it for a moment then responded “people”. Having worked on numerous projects, missed timelines result in the possibility of not meeting the project goal. One person not delivering their part can cause a ripple effect to the entire project. This type of activity can be referred to as a bottleneck in the project. For those not familiar with the term a bottleneck is a place or stage in a process at which progress is impeded.

Below are some recommendations based on the knowledge I have working on projects. I have found them to be very beneficial for me. They seem very simple, but you’d be surprised how often they’re disregarded.

  • Communicate – communicate often. It is better to have too much communication than not enough
  • Do what you say you’re going to do – if you committed to something, then do it. If you can’t revert back to the first bullet point and communicate it
  • Don’t make excuses – making excuses is the worst thing for me because most times people can tell it’s just that. But, believe me I know there are times when stuff just happens and you can’t deliver due to scheduling conflicts, etc.. So, in that instance I recommend reverting back to the first bullet point and communicate it
  • Deliver – Need I say more…..

In today’s society we all have multiple tasks that we must complete day to day in our work environment/personal life, which can easily allow us to miss something we were supposed to do. Another important recommendation is: each day create a “To Do” list. Be sure to prioritize the list. As items are completed cross them off. If something for that day wasn’t completed move it to the next day and start over. I use this method daily and it helps ensure that I’ve done all my tasks and no commitments I own are missed. And as mentioned above, if it’s something you just can’t get to that day…..communicate it. Don’t be the bottleneck!

~Tosha Miles