Identifying and overcoming bottlenecks

29 May 2021

Identifying and overcoming bottlenecks

You have a project

You have created a plan

In doing so you've engaged your team to develop it but it is a plan. A plan is not a promise.

Now cater for the variations in the plan. Who is involved? What are the resources? Are there special pieces of equipment that are vital and are shared.

Add resources to the plan, including everyone involved - staff, suppliers, stakeholders, regulators, client.

Include their availability. Note holidays, training events, allow for sickness

Check the plan.

The resource results are likely to identify resources that are overstretched. These are bottlenecks.

Some might be on the edge, little spare time - so are potential bottlenecks.

And some -see later - might not have admitted to having too much to do, so are overstretched too. People tend to be optimistic about what they can do and how long it takes.

Yet more bottlenecks.

So, to identify bottlenecks you need to plan, including resource availability, and always be sure that people really do have time for the work that is planned for them.

Now, imagine you are leading the project overall or a specific team. It is the whole team working together that identifies problems; this can include a bottleneck - an individual in the team might not have time for the allocated work. That person needs to say so. If they don’t, how will the team leader know?

This might sound like a simple example but many people are reluctant to say no to extra work, thinking it is a sign of weakness. Everyone in the team can say ‘I haven’t time’. What’s best? A rushed piece of work by someone under pressure, or an honest person saying “I need more time, or allocate this to someone else”?

Bottlenecks might come as surprises, but if you factor in resource availability as part of your risk management and planning, your bottlenecks should diminish.

For a project review or to set up a project please contact me at

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