Established in WWI, triage is the process of quickly determining the urgency and priority of a soldier’s treatment, based on the severity of their wounds, to establish the order and priority of emergency treatment and transport for the patient.

When planning a complex project timeline, project managers must first identify the most critical elements in the project. Triaging those elements includes breaking them into smaller iterations, or chunks, and enabling the ability to attack the smaller pieces first. Prioritize the associated tasks pragmatically. When communicating with team members and stakeholders, provide real insight into what can be achieved within the constraints of the deadline given. Don’t tell stakeholders what you think they want to hear, but what they need to know.

When contending with tight deadline constraints in planning a project timeline, it seems everything required simply can’t fit in the time span you’ve been told the project must be completed by.

Take a frank and realistic view of the time required for each activity component, then prioritize the most important and impactful. Get them on your timeline and break them into smaller iterations to facilitate a workflow delivering a sequence of ‘done’ pieces.

Key Takeaways

  • Assess what will take the most time
  • Decide what is most important
  • Identify which will have the greatest impact regardless of which is due first
  • Look for dependencies to prioritize