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Why It’s Important to Build Downtime Into a Project Lifecycle

Project Lifecycle

Planning a project’s lifecycle from concept to completion is not an easy challenge, even with some of the leading project management software on the market. Often, too much emphasis is placed on the step-by-step directives rather than building a plan around the key reasons for project management. A project management plan must address any desired goals while seeking to mitigate risk. The plan should identify any factors that could impact keeping a project within the agreed budget.

Why Factor in Downtime?

Factoring in downtime is essential to keeping a project within that budget. Altogether too many project managers don’t factor in adequate downtime when calculating cost. This element is of extreme importance. Even a single day of downtime due to malfunctioning machinery or workers out on sick days could make it almost impossible to stay within the budget that has been set prior to bidding on a job.

Suggestions for Temporary Downtime

Perhaps it’s best to understand that many projects experience downtime. While the best way to mitigate losses would be to reassign some of those workers to other duties during interruptions, that isn’t always possible. If there is no place to relocate those workers, let them relax with their smartphones or take leave. If you’ve factored ample  downtime in your plan, then it is no big issue to see a few workers on the mobile app playing a game of roulette or a few spins of the pokies. If you have calculated enough downtime into the budget for your project and there’s no other tasks those workers can move to in the interim, then why not let them enjoy some relaxation time?

It’s All About the Bottom Line

Obviously, all businesses want to make a profit and downtime is one of the leading detriments to completing a project timely. There probably has never been a project that wasn’t halted, at least for a few hours, while mechanics repaired machinery. Perhaps the delivery of materials was delayed due to a breakdown in the supply chain. If enough downtime is planned into a project, then it is possible to stay within budget without going over budget.

The Operative Word Is Management

Within the scope of project management, time management is a key function. This entails documenting time to be spent taking a project to completion while continually monitoring progress that was made on individual tasks as well as time spent cumulatively on the entire project. It is suggested that you keep complete records of downtime to help you plan your next project more efficiently. Bear in mind that cost vs profit is one of the key reasons for planning and project management. Documenting downtime, then, is necessary to look back at when planning your next project or writing up a bid on a project.

It can’t be said strongly enough that it is crucial to plan for a certain percentage of downtime above what you might expect based on previous jobs. Too much downtime can literally kill a project’s profitability, and you must avoid that at all costs.

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