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What to do if your Project Runs Late?

It is way too late.

Despite your best laid plans and well thought out project timeline your project is forecast to run late.

Scenario: The project is forecast to run late.

In a good project timeline you will have key milestones, which should be used to track the project’s progress. By having interim deliverables due, a project manager can determine how a project is progressing and therefore be able to forecast if the final deliverable will be later than expected. As the project manager, you will be able to see from your project timeline which tasks should have been completed and which have been.  Once assessing your situation, one or a combination of the following solutions may be suitable.

Solution 1: Consult with your stakeholders to agree on a suitable extension of time

Strong stakeholder communication is critical for successful delivery of projects on an ongoing basis. It is important to maintain strong communication with your project sponsor and project client, as potential and actual issues arise so they are not surprised when a project runs late. By being well informed of issues that come up, a client may actually feel that you have provided a better outcome by taking longer on the project. Although the project may be delivered after the initial due date strong communication will reduce negative impacts of delayed delivery. Never break the golden rule of telling a client the job will be late, AFTER it is due. Managing client expectation is an important part of project management.

Solution 2: Prioritize project elements, reduce project scope or agree on staged delivery

If a project needs to come in on a particular date you may need to re-examine the project scope with the view to refining some elements. This can be challenging, however generally projects have “nice to have” components that are not critical. These could potentially be delivered after the key project due date. If a report is due, you could elect to provide an extended executive summary with key results found to date, with an updated final report provided at a later stage, or you may elect to not deliver some components of the project.

Solution 3: Bring on additional resources and/or extend working hours (spend more money)

Spending more budget is often suggested as a way to bring projects in on-time. This solution generally works on bigger projects and is particularly suited to projects where the deliverables are clear, eg. Build this house to this plan or tasks can be separated and given to another company or additional staff. For example, repainting 20 depots can be split into 2 sub tasks given to two companies to paint 10 each. For smaller projects this approach may not be suitable as the project knowledge may be with one or two individuals and disseminating this knowledge may slow the project further.

Improving for next time

Most clients will forgive a late project once, twice is pushing the relationship and after the third time you won’t be invited back. The best way to ensure future improvement is to conduct a post implementation review and ensure project improvements are incorporated into your project management delivery framework. Your project management delivery framework sets out steps to follow to develop your project plan, scope and budget and effectively deliver the project. For smaller projects the project management delivery framework may be a checklist of key items to complete and key issues to consider before the project commences and during implementation. Having this process documented means that you can get it right each and every time and incorporate improvements from lessons learnt.

How about looking for a tool to stop being late in your projects?

The points made above all demonstrate different aspects to how stop being late in your projects. There exist many tools/apps that can help in many of these and should be considered. Here are a few below that might set your projects on a successful path.

1 Wrike

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Wrike is the most powerful work management platform on the market, enabling teams to plan projects and collaborate in real time. Our award-winning software is trusted by 20,000+ companies across the globe, including Sony, Estée Lauder, and Siemens.

Wrike’s customizable features include Gantt charts, request forms, dashboards, cross-tagging, time tracking, and proofing. Integrate with 400+ apps from the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce. Automate repetitive tasks and achieve 50% faster planning. Work from anywhere with 100% access to your files via our mobile and desktop apps.

Whether you’re a small startup or an established brand, Wrike has the solution for you. Paid plans start at $9.80/user/month. Join our community of 2.3 million — start your free two-week trial today.

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2 monday.com

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monday.com Work OS is an award-winning no-code work management platform that helps teams manage projects and workflows more efficiently.

Used by 152,000+ customers worldwide, this fully customizable software lets you plan, manage, and track every project in one place. monday.com offers time-saving and easy-to-use features such as automations, time tracking, document sharing, and real-time collaboration. Multiple board views such as Gantt and Kanban help you structure and navigate tasks and projects the way you prefer, and dashboards give a high-level overview of your progress.

In addition, integrations with apps such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, and Excel, allow you to easily continue working with your favorite tools from within the platform. monday.com also offers dedicated solutions, such as monday dev and monday sales CRM, designed to answer the needs of specific industries.

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3 Smartsheet

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Smartsheet is a leading work execution platform that has real-time work management features, collaboration and automation tools. Users are presented with a familiar and easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface. However, it has enterprise-grade capabilities that even Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Bayer, HP, and PayPal are confident to adopt in their business. Strong project management features enable teams to utilize different views of real-time data, and switch easily from Gantt, card, grid and calendar views. Smartsheet has automatic update requests, and can be used for waterfall and agile projects, product launch, sprint planning, and more. The resource management feature provides users the visibility who is busy, and who is not, in real-time. They can also attach files, share sheets, get notified, view the activity log, export, email, and print.

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4 Productive

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Start and deliver each billable and non-billable service by centralizing communication. Collaborate with teammates on tasks in real-time, streamline best practices, and let clients in on progress.

Stop spreading work across platforms. Subscribe to tasks to track progress, assign date ranges and deadlines, and check granular steps off with TODOs.

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5 Zoho Projects

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Zoho Projects is an online project management application that helps its users to plan projects, collaborate with employees and clients, keep track of time, manage documents, and generate charts and reports. Users work on a central platform where they can keep track of progress, discuss ideas, communicate easily and stay updated. It is cloud-based and highly accessible, where user data is kept safe with stringent security systems. The software is also scalable depending on the number of projects, with the option to add more features. Zoho Projects is a cloud-based project management tool that helps you plan your work, track it efficiently, and collaborate with your team wherever they are.

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Judy Quinn Avatar