Project Management

Deadline: Yesterday?

Brad Egeland is an IT/project management consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management and project management experience leading initiatives in manufacturing, government contracting, gaming and hospitality, retail operations, aviation and airline, pharmaceutical, start-ups, healthcare, higher education, not-for-profit, high-tech, engineering and general IT.

All your projects run smoothly and you never miss a deadline, right? Sure, if you live in La La Land. It’s the nature of the beast that project deadlines get missed. You can’t build slack time into every task, and on some brutal projects you may not have the opportunity to build any slack time into any tasks.

But for the most part, a few missed deadlines are not normally a sign of a project in extreme danger. It’s just part of the process. And unless your senior management is unreasonable, they will realize this and won’t get too alarmed as long as the end date of the project remains relatively intact and customer satisfaction isn’t in jeopardy.

What about the projects where missed deadlines are a chronic problem? You know the ones. It’s not just a deadline here and there that’s missed. No, it’s a repeating process and you’re constantly scrambling with your team to get tasks back on track and get things completed somewhere close to on time. It seems like you’re repeatedly giving excuses and apologies to the customer and your senior management on missed dates on the project. No doubt about it—it’s painful.

You may have what you believe to be an excellent process for schedule control, and team members are working well together. But in spite of that, you simply don’t meet phase deadlines …


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"Whatever does not destroy me makes me stronger."

- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche