Managing project delays – maintaining progress and keeping all stakeholders satisfied

Whatever the reason for the delay, the project manager is responsible for getting things back on the right path. When adopting a project schedule, one of the most important factors before proceeding is cost, whether you have the money and resources required to adapt a project plan.

Creating new priorities

Project managers must ensure the reprioritisation of the original requirements so the project can be managed and completed within the time frame. Achieving this requires identifying the most critical elements driving overall project delivery. These factors represent the ‘non-negotiable’ parts that must be part of the project.

Get agile with your project

When a project falls behind schedule or risks a possible delay, shifting to an agile approach can minimise disruption and improve timelines. This agile approach could involve determining the at-risk parts of the project, splitting them into smaller segments and closely monitoring progress. Applying a consistent dashboard that determines the state of each section of a project is an effective technique for keeping track of progress.

Managing internal and external causes

Project managers must determine the causes of the delay and identify which are internal and which are external. Some issues can be managed internally by the team. Internal teams can work together to tackle these challenges, prioritising the key issues and breaking down problems into smaller segments, enabling employees to complete each area quicker. Any external tasks must be recognised by the vendor or supplier, ensuring they can see what needs targeting and that the business is getting the project back on schedule.

Eliminate potential damage

When project managers recognise a change in project schedule, they must respond quickly and decisively. If a problem is found in the critical path, adding more HR to increase the work rate while minimising the impact on costs could be considered. If the problem is more associated with communication with the client, the project manager must present

possible solutions, reducing the project scope to achieve deadlines.

Project managers recognise that the schedule represents only one of the three significant project constraints: Scope and cost are the other two factors. Businesses can strengthen their outcomes by focusing on the three core elements of the PMI Talent Triangle: technical project management, leadership and strategic and business management skills.

It’s common for projects to experience disruption. Managing and resolving a possible delay requires ensuring all stakeholders are informed and part of the process. The participants, timing and length of these gatherings depend on the root cause. Getting everyone together and determining the challenges and cause for the delay enables a better understanding and a more effective response.

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