Negative Schedule Variance
In this week's lecture, we learned that if schedule variance is negative, it means the project is not worth as much as it should be worth and that we are behind schedule. As the project manager, what are some ideas you will propose to your team to get back on schedule and get the schedule variance back to being positive?
In terms of getting back on track, I would talk to my team about where our gaps are and why we are falling behind. Most of the time, it is because there are other priorities or there is a roadblock to progressing in the project. I would ask if there is any support needed from me (as a manager) or from other departments to help get the timeline back on track. Also, this would be a last resort but if it is a deliverable that is just behind on work I would ask the team to do some overtime. It's not ideal financially or in terms of supporting your team but I would only make this decision if there truly was no other alternative.
I agree. With a schedule variance, the project may need more hands on deck or modification to the workflow. My first instinct would be to meet with the team to discuss how we can make the workflows with each task more efficient. Every task is unique in how they are executed. Some tasks may require more people whereas others can be handled by one person. If this is the case, I would assign someone, or myself, to assist with the task that may be causing the project to fall behind. In the case where multiple tasks are behind, I would try to find the most efficient way to allocate tasks in order to catch up to where the project should be and make myself available to assist.
When the schedule variance is negative, the project manager should think about if the initial planning is inappropriate or some problem might come up. In this situation, the project manager should schedule a meeting as other posts mentioned. The project manager should go through the work they have already done and try to figure out what happened. In my opinion, one possible reason could be that the initial schedule is inappropriate. If this is the reason, the manager should work with the team to make some changes on their schedule based on their current needs. Another possible reason could be some difficult problems might cost a lot of time and some team members might need extra help to figure out those issues. In this situation, the manager should deal with the issue for extra help or the manager also could reassign the work so more people can deal with the problem.
As mentioned by others the most important step would be to hold a meeting with all the team members to determine the reasons that they are falling behind schedule. Should the delays be caused by certain members requiring additional help or if there are other tasks that are taking priority then these issues should be dealt with as soon as possible. If the project stays behind schedule after this then another possible solution would be to have the members do overtime work until the project is back on schedule.
Firstly I would get in touch with my team members and make sure that each of us have a specific role assigned to us. Secondly, I would make sure that the team members schedule weekly meetings to go over project specifics. If any member is falling behind on a specific task, the team should divert some of their attention to help their colleague out in order to ensure that all deadlines are met.
When it comes to schedule variance being negative, it is important for the project manager to discuss with the rest of their team what is the best course of action to bring the schedule variance into the positives. However, some things the project manager should do beforehand before meeting with the team is the look at the project slack time that is present at the moment. By looking at if there is any slack, he or she can determine to allocate some time to the particular phases that are going over the project deadline and see if that can bring it back to positives. Additionally, the team should be able to tell the project manager what additional resources may be required, ranging from more man power and having to coordinate with other project managers, to physical machinery. Doing these things should be able to give a comprehensive view of what is needed for the project manager to move the schedule variance into the positives.
As a project manager, your main responsibility is to make sure your team meets the project deadline. The project manager should schedule a meeting with the team to discuss the lack of progress. I read a scenario about during a project, one of the members of the team had a task to complete. The individual kept pushing back the completion of their task by telling the PM that the task will be completed by the end of the week, this continued for 3 weeks. As the project manager, I think the best thing to do would be to set deadlines for each of the team members to complete their tasks.
If a project is running behind schedule I would first look to adding additional resources onto a task. If a current project only has 3 people working on it, possibly adding 2 additional temporary personnel would help catch the project timeline back up to speed. Additionally, I would look into reviewing the planning portion of the project and possibly reevaluate steps that can be combined or shortened depending on relative importance that has become more apparent after starting the project. The last resort would be to change the project schedule to accommodate this slow down so that the already completed tasks have additional slack factored in, however this would require a discussion and approval as it can not become a normal occurrence.
If a negative variance is determined, the project is over budget. A negative variance is your indicator that the project is behind schedule or over budget and that you need to take action. You might have to increase your budget or accept reduced profit margins. If you have identified that the project will not be completed using the existing method and budget, including your contingency, you have a few options:
- Reassign resources to a lower-cost resource.
- Reduce the project scope.
- Seek more funding.
Each of these options has benefits and drawbacks. In general, you may be able to reassign a lower-cost resource to the job but it will take longer to do it. In this case, although you need to compromise on the delivery date, the project will still come in under budget. As a project manager tracking progress and maintaining clear communication with your clients and, contractors, is important in managing time and budget.
If a project is behind schedule and has a negative schedule variance, there are several ideas that can be proposed to the team to get back on track and improve the schedule variance: Review the project plan to identify any areas that have caused the schedule variance. This will help to identify any issues that need to be addressed. Identify the critical path tasks, which are those that must be completed on time to keep the project on schedule. Prioritize these tasks and allocate resources accordingly. Consider reallocating resources, such as personnel or equipment, to the critical path tasks to ensure they are completed on time. Find ways to increase productivity, such as by improving processes, reducing waste, or optimizing resources. This can help to complete tasks more efficiently and reduce delays. Consider implementing agile project management techniques to adapt to changing circumstances and ensure that the project stays on track. If necessary, re-negotiate deadlines with stakeholders or customers to allow more time to complete the project. By implementing these ideas, the team can work together to get the project back on schedule and improve the schedule variance.