Dealing with Delays

In some cases, project sponsor or the board of directors might not want to extend the end date of a project since it will be resulting in losing potential revenue or losing investors expectation. Therefore, project manager will need to choose the next step of action to meet the date line or else, your career reputation will be on the line. Here are options that you could take based on project condition:

    Crashing can help you to get back on track, but you must consider the availability and cost of resources. The main risk of this option is whether your project has enough budget to do crashing and whether the resources needed are available at the course of action. And not to forget, whether the manpower has enough skill and experience to execute the crashing activities.

    In this option, you need to reprioritize activities that are critical for the project success. These activities can be identified in the critical path of a schedule. Delaying a single activity in critical path will result in delaying the whole project.

    Another method is to reprioritize the requirements. Sometimes it is better to have a working system with limited functionality than waiting for more time to have a complete system. The project delivery can be divided into different phases with the functionalities of the system are improving in every phase, until it meets all of the stakeholders requirements. This of course will need the project manager to get a buy in form the stakeholders.

    When a project is behind the schedule or at risk of a critical delay, turning to an agile approach is a good way to accelerate the timeline. First, analyse the scope that is at risk and divide it into smaller, tangible parts. Set a very short daily meeting or call with the key leaders of the delivery team to closely monitor progress. Dashboard can be used to track the progress of each scope, with proper tagging (not initialized, in progress or completed) in order to improve the coordination and communication with all team members.

    Make a list of the causes of the delay, then identify which causes are internal and which are external. Internal items are within your groups control and therefore you need to coordinate with your team closely, preferably co-located team. Prioritize and fragmentize the problem into smaller parts which easier to be solved.
    For the external items that are usually undertaken by the supplier or vendor, they also need to do the same thing. Focus and prioritize on their own work to achieve the dateline. The external party can see what they need to do and that we are doing our part to get back on schedule.

    When you detect a deviation in the project schedule, you must act quickly and decisively. You need to determine whether the damage occurs at the critical path of the project. If it is, then you can opt for adding more human resources to increase the pace of work while minimizing damage to the budget. If the team cooperation or client cooperation is the main issue, you will need to present possible solution, where usually it is either change request for confirm completion of missing items and time or reducing the project scope.

    It is hard to find a project that move forward exactly along schedule. Every project is bound to have minor slippage on the time progress. To resolve the delay, it is necessary to bring all the involved parties to the table. The participants, timing and duration of these meeting depends on the root cause of the delay. It may take one meeting, a series of meetings or even bringing everyone to the site (co-location) to get project back on track. Getting everyone on site allowed us to have a long discussion, exchange ideas and ultimately recover the delay.

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