How to Manage Delays

Delays in projects are inevitable. There is always something unforeseen which enters the fray and puts pressure on deadlines. Once the first delay has occurred it often back ups and causes problems for other team members resulting in a domino effect.

Thankfully there are ways and means to reduce the impact of negative events.

Prevention

Prevention is the best form of cure. If a project team is able to see a possible delay coming then planning for it will no doubt minimise the effect. 

An effective document for managing potential project risks is a risk register. A risk register lists all potential risks to the project. It should also contain:

  • The potential impact of the risk
  • The likelihood that the risk will occur
  • The planned response if the risk does occur
  • The steps which should be taken to mitigate the risk

The benefit of using the risk register is three-fold:

  1. It allows the project team to consider all the potential risks
  2. It causes the project team to think about the actions they would take if the risk occurs
  3. It makes the project team plan what actions they will take to mitigate the risk

Cure

Not all cows on the train track can be seen from a long distance. Imagine if your lead programmer unexpectedly falls ill or if there is a fire in your office. Whilst a risk register should account for these there are often times where the risk was just to obscure to seriously consider. There are also times where the significance of a risk was underestimated.

Unfortunately the only real way to cure a delay is put the extra hours in to make up for the lost time. Fire fighting is something that far too many project managers get used to but really in-depth planning can mitigate any issues and smooth out any delays.

~Team Diswo