Project Management

Have You Made This Scheduling Mistake?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

There are a few things about project managers that really annoy me. At the top of the list is what I think of as the “sudden major delay.” You’ve experienced it: It’s the PM who reports that their project is on track all the way through the process…until one day, they suddenly announce they are three months behind schedule. Now of course, that delay didn’t happen overnight.

What really happened was that the PM started to see a delay of a few days several weeks ago, but they didn’t say anything because they were confident that they could recover. Those few days became a week, then two weeks, then a month…and the PM found themselves struggling to get the project back on track. But having previously reported that everything was good, they didn’t want to admit they were wrong—right up to the point where it couldn’t be hidden any longer.

Now there are many reasons why these things happen, and at least as much organizational blame as PM blame. It’s also not a problem that only happens to new project managers, but they do seem to be more susceptible than most. And when a new PM recently asked me whether a delay of a few days “really mattered,” it seemed like a good opportunity to revisit this issue.

The schedule isn’t (usually) a suggestion
While this problem is generally associated …


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