Rule 1: Time Management is Critical
To deliver your project on time, you need to manage time carefully. To do this, make sure every task is listed in a Project Plan and that they are scheduled to occur precisely when they need to.
Every week, update your plan with the time spent completing tasks and identify whether each task is ahead or behind schedule. Track the % complete of each task and if it's behind schedule, then get it back on track by assigning more resource or reducing the scope of the task. Don't let tasks slip. Be vigilant.
Rule 2: Track Costs and Manage Finances
Every element of your project incurs a cost. You need to identify all of the planned costs upfront and get them approved by your manager.
Then record every expense as it occurs - including people, equipment and materials. Check that your actual expenditure does not exceed your planned expenditure. And if it does, then you need to cut back. If you're running over budget, tell your Project Sponsor early.
Rule 3: Ensure Quality Targets are Set
You need to specify upfront exactly what it is that the project will deliver (i.e. the "deliverables" ). Then set targets for the quality of these deliverables. Get your quality targets agreed by your customer.
Then every week, review the quality of each deliverable produced by the project. If it's not up to standard, fix it immediately. Never wait until the end of the project before fixing up quality issues.
Rule 4: Control Scope at the Micro Level
Your scope is defined as "the set of deliverables that need to be produced by the project". So make sure that you know what your scope is, try not to let anyone change it.
Check every week that your team is working on "just" the set of deliverables agreed, and nothing more. Check that every deliverable being produced exactly matches the specification you've defined for it. Note: An increase in the scope of your project will make it harder to deliver.
Rule 5: Resolve Issues Early
If issues arise during the project, then resolve them early. Pounce on every issue before it delays your project. Record it formally and then track it until it's resolved. Unresolved issues lead to delays which lead to project failure. Stay safe – resolve issues early