Avoiding Project Delays

(Project Management Tip)

Surveys show that more than 70% of projects are expected to be delayed. So, what causes these delays, and what can we do to prevent them?

In previous blogs we’ve presented different methodologies we can use to identify, assess and manage project delays. In this blog, we’ll share with you the approach we should take to avoid delays in the first place.

Various events cause project delays and, if asked, many people will say it’s because of a lack of planning, poor estimation and scheduling, poor communication, and point out various events such as inclement weather, and unexpected conditions.

But this response does not really get to the issue on why we constantly see delays on projects and why project timeframes are often wrong in the first place.

There are two main reasons why delays occur:

  1. We either set targets that are unrealistic, that have not been informed by a plan, or at worst ignores it, or
  2. We spend too much time interrogating the plan to make sure it is 100% correct, which by the way, it will never be.

Unrealistic timeframes are established when we do not have a full appreciation of the risks, and our response to those risks when it becomes an issue. This situation often occurs because of promises made, expectations set or the desire to please others.

At the other end of the scale are projects that spend too much time making sure they get it right and procrastinate with decisions. We get into this situation because of the desire to be correct, to have all the answers, and again to please others.

Third party reviews and good project governance are ways to address this issue. If allowed, a good review will identify risks not yet considered and provide outside advice to be considered by the project team.

In our upcoming blogs, we will discuss the importance of good third-party reviews and how they can improve project governance.

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