In a perfect world, there would be no project delays or roadblocks, and everything would always be on time and smooth sailing. In reality, imperfections are with us every day. While they might be frustrating in the moment, they can actually have some positive consequences. Managing project roadblocks is possible.
Roadblocks happen. Here’s the silver lining.
When it comes to work management, effectively managing project roadblocks is critical in keeping the project moving forward. While it can be difficult to predict when a delay or a block could occur and what it will entail, it should be easy to manage and account for such surprises within a project plan. And lucky for you, roadblock management IS easy when you have TaskRay by your side. With TaskRay, you can rest assured that those pesky setbacks are mitigated from the moment they occur.
Even better, TaskRay makes it possible to thoroughly track and use roadblock data for insights to make process improvements for future projects. In fact, past roadblock data can make it easier to predict and account for the unexpected in the future. Roadblocks can be your crystal ball—at least in the work management sense.
So, your project has encountered a roadblock. Now what?
The inevitable has happened: an unexpected delay occurred on an in-flight project and now some tasks cannot move forward. What do you do?
First things first, to ensure that the team does not lose sight of the roadblock, the details about the issue should be noted and communicated on the work that is impacted by the block.
Typically, this is the responsibility of those who are assigned to complete the work (aka, task owners). To account for such instances, task owners can flag the impacted tasks as blocked. Not only will this make them stand out visually, it also allows for generating reports and capturing essential project insights.
Out of the box, the functionality around flagging blocked tasks is simple–essentially a click of a button! While that might be enough for some business processes, there is always room to be creative and tailor the functionality to align with your organization’s unique needs.
Tips to Elevate the Function
- Track Additional Details: Incorporate a process for tracking details about a roadblock. This could be as simple as requesting the task owners add messages to Chatter, or by adding a custom Blocked Reason field that becomes a requirement whenever a task is marked as blocked.
- Consider Automations: Not only does Salesforce make custom automations accessible to any organization, it allows automations to be a superpower of any process. As you think about your internal roadblock management process, remember that you have room to be creative. For example, you can set up a custom notification to be sent to the project manager whenever a task within their project is flagged as blocked, or you can automate the creation of Blocked Date Stamps to track when the issue occurred and when it was resolved.
Taking it up a notch: What is the impact of blocked tasks on projects?
While roadblocks are often just part of the regular task management process for end users, they do have an impact on projects as well. In some cases, a roadblock can be big enough to put the entire project on hold (Starter & Standard On-Hold | Premium On-Hold). While that should hopefully be a rare occurrence, TaskRay is built to support that scenario as well.
More commonly, managing project roadblocks can provide valuable insight from a project plan perspective. By incorporating ways to track meaningful details and then generating reports to extract those metrics, it becomes possible to make adjustments on future project plans.
Tips to Elevate the Function
- Project Insights: Out of the box, TaskRay provides ways to view summarized project insights, which include information about blocked tasks. Additionally, the TaskRay package comes with some sample reports that can be used as starting points to build ones that align with your organization’s KPIs. And, if you incorporate customizations and additional fields into your roadblock management process, those can be added to the reports as well.
- Takeaways: With all this data at your fingertips, you are empowered to make informed improvements to your business process. For example, if you pull a report and find that a certain task within a repeatable process is always delayed, it’s a great indicator that you need to take a closer look at that task and see where it needs to be adjusted. When reviewing, you can consider things like whether the task is assigned to the right resource or if it has the right scheduling estimates.
Managing project roadblocks – the bottom line:
Although it is nearly impossible to eliminate unexpected delays entirely, there are ways to mitigate them and even use them to your advantage. TaskRay makes it easy to do just that by not only tracking and flagging roadblocks, but by helping you gather meaningful insights to make process improvements for the future.