We have noticed a growing trend toward accepting that projects will be late as the norm. Recently we’ve run into several projects that were going to be late and the consequences were grave. Some of those consequences include:
- You (as project manager, sponsor, project team member) lose credibility with stakeholders not just on matters of schedule but in general. Simply put people either believe you don’t know what you are doing or don’t believe you tell the truth about project issues. This effects not only the project but your career;
- Externally imposed deadlines (for example, Federal deadlines for Health Insurance Exchanges) exist in which penalties will accrue if you are late or payments from external sources (e.g. Federal matching funds for MMIS systems) are delayed causing financial hardship; and
- Loss of funding as projects spread across budget cycles. We’ve recently seen several cash strapped jurisdictions defund existing projects simply because they don’t have the financial resources to continue them.
So, on many projects, being late matters. It could have serious consequences. The solution to lateness is not to accept it but to:
- Accurately estimate project schedules in the first place
- Keep those estimates up to date and keep stakeholders informed of any changes
- Identify and develop mitigation strategies for the issues causing schedule slip
Public Knowledge Predictive Management Framework® provides techniques, based on 25 years of hands on project management experience, to accomplish all of these. While the techniques don’t eliminate late projects, they do provide better initial estimates of effort and duration, keep those estimates up to date, keep those interested in the project aware of schedule issues, and provide a framework for mitigating the risk of schedule slip.