7 Working Tips to Avoid Project Delay

Project Delay
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Stress? Procrastination? Lack of competence? What causes a project to get delayed, and can it be avoided? Let’s examine the typical challenges behind project delays and learn what you can do to prevent them.

What is project delay? 

Project delay is a headache that every project manager has faced at least once in their life. These are always unplanned and unexpected obstacles to finishing a project within an agreed deadline or budget. The worst-case scenario may lead to derailing a project.

What causes project delays?

The truth is that it comes down to several common reasons causing delays:

  • setting unrealistic goals
  • communication issues between team members, clients, and stakeholders
  • poor planning and scheduling at the initial stage
  • inadequate resource forecasting
  • constant changes from the client’s side that disrupt the project
  • no regular monitoring of the project performance 
  • underestimating the need for cloud-based software
  • external factors like disasters, pandemics, political climate, etc.

Impact of delays in project completion 

Project delays have severe consequences: they may result in extra costs, extra time, or both. You may think it doesn’t look like the end of the world. However, a delayed project is like mold — without proper treatment, it will grow bigger and worse. Next thing you know, your company’s reputation is destroyed, your project lacks financing, and there are talks about closing the project altogether. The impact of delays in project completion can be crucial.

But we have good news for you. This disaster can be avoided. Get ready to learn about practical tips to prevent a delayed project and make sure your reputation stays intact.

7 working tips to avoid project delay 

It’s not news to you that something may and probably will not go as planned. How to manage your project on time despite these possible obstacles? You can prevent a project delay with several easy-to-follow and not-so-easy-to-follow but effective steps.

Ensure thorough project planning 

Initial scrupulous planning is essential for a project’s timely completion. To ensure adequate scheduling, you must understand your goals, requirements, and project constraints. The word ‘roadmap’ is used for a reason when describing a project plan. It will help the stakeholders not to get sidetracked and keep their focus on the project’s goals, as 37% of project failures happen because of the change in project objectives. So creating a project roadmap with well-thought-out scheduling techniques determines your future success.

Define project goals

The inability to set clear goals often becomes one of the reasons for the delay, as not having a precise focus results in poorly defined requirements, failed communication, and, consequently, inaccurate estimated time. Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T and C.L.E.A.R.

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With either approach, you will define a clear target for your project to reach and prevent you from setting unrealistic and unachievable objectives. Impressing your customer with less ambitious results within the agreed deadline is way better than failing to deliver overpromising results. 

Set realistic deadlines 

Unrealistic deadlines are one of the reasons why project managers are always stressed. Many claim that the cause of delay is often procrastination rather than poor scheduling. Though, let’s be honest, procrastination is also a part of the project process. It’s naive to believe you can motivate every team member to work flawlessly to meet the deadlines. That is why it’s vital to think of every little detail that may go wrong at every stage of the project execution and have it considered in your timeline. Include procrastination in your time estimate as well. 

Embrace the fact that there will be additional changes on the go, such as plan shifts on the client’s side. Also, if you work in software development, make sure you allocate the time for testing. For instance, UAT testing would take you an additional week or even more, but without it, the product can’t be released. Don’t forget to think of the scenario when you find a bug that needs to be fixed. It all takes time which should be reflected in the timeline. 

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Clearly understand project requirements

A rushed involvement in the project may cause a lack of understanding of the given requirements. Only with a scrupulous examination of your customer’s expectations can you determine the complexity of a project and ensure no delay in project delivery. For this reason, before taking on a task or a project, always check if you have any gaps in understanding what you’re expected to do. Otherwise, it will result in a lack of competence which will lead to the delay of the project, or worse, a project being derailed.

Assign roles and responsibilities

To ensure adequate performance, each team member should clearly understand their responsibilities. Not only should their role meet their skills and experience, but they should also clearly understand their expectations. For example, hosting meetings, creating video presentations, or updating info on the table is also a responsibility that takes up time but often may be communicated unclearly. Such tiny details may lead to project delays in the future.

Track and analyze performance 

Another essential step to avoid a project delay is to detect challenges and issues at an early stage before it’s too late. Most companies use sophisticated project management tools like Jira, Asana, etc., to zoom in on a single team member’s task or to see the complete picture of project execution. Measuring your project progress helps you stay on track.

However, as a project manager, you may sometimes need more advanced analytics to generate reports and analyze team performance. In this case, you may want to process your project management and CRM data in external tools, which will also let you match it with data from other sources like time-tracking apps. For example, you can use data integration tools to export issues from Jira to Excel or Google Sheets and detect problems faster to avoid possible project delays. 

Facilitate efficient team communication

Transparent and easy communication is the key to keeping everyone informed and involved. It’s crucial that members of a project can reach each other, communicate the change of plans, share their concerns, and suggest tips. Utilizing QR codes to quickly disseminate contact information, project updates, or instant access to collaborative tools can significantly enhance this connectivity. Poor communication is a common reason for a delayed project. Have a place for technical talk, mentoring, and empowering your team members.


Managing project delays can be a significant challenge for any manager, adding to the already existing burden of responsibilities. Nonetheless, being aware of potential risks and equipped with practical techniques to mitigate them is essential. It is imperative to plan comprehensively, establish achievable yet ambitious objectives, maintain consistent communication, and streamline the process using intelligent software.

The content published on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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