Being late happens, even to the best projects. And when it happens, you need
to deal with it. The longer you ignore a delay, the higher the chances of the
delay growing longer.
So how do you deal with a task being late in your project? Or the project
itself being late?
Oh my god Oh my god Oh my god Oh my god Oh my god Oh my god
Panic. Run around in circles. Feel really bad about it.
Does it make the delay better? It at all, it makes things worse. There is
nothing to gain from panicking about a delay.
It's not my fault
Trying to avoid the blame maybe understandable, I fail to see how it gets
you on the track to being on time. Would it be worse if it was your fault? At
least you could do something about it!
It's [insert name]'s fault
While the blame game is an all-time favorite, here again I fail to
see how that helps the project. Pointing fingers takes time and if you're late,
you can't afford to waste time focusing on who messed up.
Why it's late
When we start trying to understand the delay, something can be done about
it. However, understanding the why of something is only the first step in
fixing the problem. And that's what we want to do: find a way to reduce or
What are the consequences?
Is your project linked to a contract that includes penalties if you're late?
Are you working on the President's pet project? Has your organization committed
publicly to a date? It's important to know the implications of the delay, since
they will affect how much effort is required to correct the situation.
It's also important to find out is the project team knew about those
consequences beforehand. Even though it's always important to be on time,
knowing there's a 10% penalty for delivering a product late can help your team
take measures to prevent delays, or plan countermeasures to correct a delay.
Get over it
Time only goes forward. The project is late, and there is nothing that can
be changed about that, unless you have a time machine. No good will come out of
commiserating about the delay.
How are you going to fix this?
This is the tough question. How can you fix what made the project late in
the first place? How can you gain time to recover from the delay by the
end of the project? How can you prevent this type of delay from happening
Think of the future
If you treat each challenge as an opportunity to improve your project
management skills, then no delay or failure is entirely negative.