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4 Reasons for Missed Project Deadlines and How to Get Back on Track - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

Sticky note reading, don't miss the deadline

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we looked at the first two of what I consider to be the four main reasons that project deadlines are usually missed. I welcome your input.

There are nearly limitless reasons project deadlines are missed. I'm sure you have lots of experiences to share. I'm generalising here to keep this series from becoming an actual book, but let's share and discuss as well.

Now for my remaining two reasons:

Project Resources Are Overloaded

Check with your resources:

  • Are they overloaded in areas outside of their responsibilities to your project?
  • Are they getting direction from a supervisor to prioritise their work elsewhere?

If that's the case, you have two issues to address:

  1. Communication problems because they didn't let you know this
  2. Negotiation needs to happen with the other PMs or the supervisor creating the priority conflicts

Either way, you must quickly get resources focused on your project tasks or replace them.

Once again, consider the budget issues related to the corrective action that has to happen here. The project budget may take a hit for a while as either priority gets re-adjusted or the project resource is replaced.

More Project Resources Are Needed to Get the Work Done

Usually throwing more resources at the problem isn't the correct action to take. What it can do to your project budget is scary. But there are those rare cases where a project actually does need more resources.

How can you tell?

Analyse the situation thoroughly. Ensure that this is actually the case for your project before on-boarding more help. If you do find more resources are necessary, you might have your work cut out for you.

The next step will be to fight the battle of getting more funding from either the customer or your own organisation. Usually both paths will offer considerable resistance.

Summary

There is a chance that the perfect project is out there somewhere. If you managed it, please tell us about it. We'd love to learn from you.

In reality, though, most of us miss at least one key deadline in every project we manage – often at no fault of our own or our teams.

It's how we handle these bumps that often define us as good leaders and successful project managers. The four reasons for derailed projects I've discussed here-and the work around to avoiding them-allow you to do three key things to drive project success:

  • You stay away from passing blame
  • You focus on proactive issue management
  • You keep customer confidence high in the process

Please share your own thoughts and experiences. How do you manage these incidents with the team and customer?

Tell us what you consider to be the main reasons that project deadlines, tasks, and timeframes slide.

How do you work to keep customers happy and teams working cohesively to stay on track? How do you get back on track when times are tough and resources become an issue?


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