Project Management

Study on the Main Causes of Project Schedule Delays

PMI Central Italy Chapter

Saleh A. Al-Wadei, MBA, CPM, AVS, LSS, CWNA, PMP, has over 19 years of experience managing all aspects of projects. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from King Fahd University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and completed the Executive Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin—Red McCombs School of Business.

Executive Summary
Nearly 50% of projects worldwide during the previous eight years have experienced delays in their schedule. These delays are attributed to various causes, which are different for each project. This paper examines several sources to identify the different causes of schedule delay for projects worldwide, with the main focus being on oil and gas projects. The paper then consolidates the identified causes, categorizes them, and ranks them in the form of a top 12 list of the most common delay causes in projects. The analysis carried over in the paper reveals that inadequate planning during project development, poor contract management by contractors, and ineffective project management by clients during project execution are the most common delay causes in projects, respectively. The developed top 12 list employs categories that are most applicable to oil and gas projects. However, the same list can still be extended to other project sectors that share similarities with the oil and gas (energy) sector.

1. Introduction
According to the PMI Pulse of the Profession®, only 52% of projects worldwide were completed on time in 2018. In fact, the on-time completion percentage has stayed close to 50% since 2011 and remains there today. This, in other words, means that almost 50% of projects have suffered schedule delays during the same period worldwide, as shown in …


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