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How do you anticipate bottlenecks when planning a project?

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I'm currently laying out the project plan for my second project as a project manager, so, needless to say, I am a beginner in project management. My last project wasn't that great, as I didn't anticipate well for bottlenecks in my project plan when allocating resources.

Is there either an automated way (in Microsoft Project) or a manual process to anticipate for bottlenecks?
asked 3 years ago by anonymous

1 Answer

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You first need to identify the potential risk areas in your project manually. Keep the following points in consideration while identifying risk areas -
- Make sure that you have understood the scope of the project. Create  a detailed WBS and identify areas which you do not understand well enough to breakdown further. These could be your potential risk areas.
- Identify schedule risk. Identify  the critical path/paths and focus on these activities where float is 0 or negative. Even if the float is very small ie 1 or 2 days..it would still be a risky activity.
-Look for outsourcing risk ie delays resulting from a situation where vendor fails to complete assigned work on time
- Check if there are any potential risks relating to procurement  eg you may need to procure a software license that you currently do not have
- Identify any Resource Availability risks. eg For a project as a whole, identify all holidays , scheduled time off,significant non project meetings and other time that will not be availble for project work.You also need to take into account if any staff will be leaving the project temporarily at any point in time or joining the project late.
- Identify probability of other risks such as scarcity of required specialized skills ,  changing requirements etc
Also,
- Include a Risks section in status reports and request that resources to identify any assumptions they are making, as well as any new risks they see.
-Set up regular meetings with team members to reevaluate the risk management plan and to identify new risks to the project.

You can use project management software to conduct What-if analysis which will give you an idea of impact on schedule.
Also,if you're familiar with Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications, you can use it to create macros in Microsoft Project to alert you when trigger events occur. This may help you in monitoring the project better.
answered 3 years ago by dimple (2,910 points)

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