One of the most common problems in an Organization is the delay in projects. Here are 10 important causes of project delays:
#1 – Weak Management: One of the main causes, undoubtedly, is poor project management, caused by lack of experience of the project manager, or even by incompetence. To avoid this, we must seek a project manager with the appropriate experience according to the size and importance of the work.
#2 – Planning Falacy: this concept was first introduced by Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002) and Amos Tversky, in 1979, in an article entitled “Intuitive prediction: biases and corrective procedures”, in which the authors state that, by an optimistic bias, we tend to underestimate the timing of a project. This concept was included in Daniel Kahneman’s book: Thinking, Fast and Slow, published in 2011. To avoid this, we must take into account similar projects that have already been carried out.
#3 – Scope Changins: Changes to the initial scope of the project can cause delays, so we must have a lot of discretion when authorizing this type of change, taking into account the extra project time involved.
#4 – Complexity Not Predicted: Can be a difficulty not foreseen in the acquisition of any item, or the delay in obtaining some legal documentation, or even other unforeseen dificulty, all of that can entail great delays not initially expected in the project. Good planning, with the support of people experienced in each function, can avoid this.
#5 – Project Errors: Small design errors can lead to changes in supplier lead times, which lead to longer delays on the end date of a project. Once again, a competent and experienced team can reduce the occurrence of this type of problem.
#6 – Time Pressure: based on corporate pressure, the project often receives dates that represent more of a desire than a reality. How many times have we seen this happening? I have seen a lot! For example, a hallucinated director, who does not know the intricacies of the project and who, by arrogance and authoritarianism, sets a date for the finalization of the project, which is already born doomed to failure.
#7 – Strategic Change: suddenly, the Organization decides to prioritize another project, reducing resource allocation and causing delays in the current project. Being a strategic issue, there is not much to do.
#8 – Lack of Support: Every project, besides the important figure of the project manager, also has a sponsor, that is a senior management professional who must support the project, so the resources are released as needed, and that all involved people act with the necessary commitment. When this support is missing, delays will very likely occur.
#9 – Customer delays: In some situations the customer may delay some type of information that, as a consequence, delays the project. In this case it is important and fair that the client be warned that their delay may imply a delay of the project.
#10 – Unforeseen in General: bankruptcy of a supplier, change of legislation, dismissal of project team components, logistical transportation accident, change of scenery, any supplier delays, financial problems, etc. are examples of unforeseen events that can impact project time.
In addition to these main causes, there are, of course, others, such as “misappropriation of resources” and “bad faith” that greatly delay a project. Bearing in mind the possible causes of project delays, a good project manager can (and should) work proactively in reducing the probability of their occurrence. We have to think that the better the planning in the initial part of the project, the better it will follow afterwards. There is a quote: “If you want to cut the tree in half the time, spend twice the time sharpening the ax.”