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Topics: PMO
how to ask for project timeline extension
Project Summary

Build a new web page to show a store’s promotions for Black Friday
Web page to launch 3 days before Black Friday
Developers estimate it will take 4 weeks for two developers to complete this new web page


Scenario

It is 1 week before Black Friday and the engineering team has informed you that they need an extra two weeks to complete the work.



Writing Request 1

Please list out the follow-up activities or information you need to complete as a Project Manager in order to determine how to resolve this situation.
The client will need to be notified of this situation via a meeting. Please provide the Meeting Agenda and items that you would plan to discuss with the client to resolve this situation.
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Pavan

This is how I suggest you do it:

Kindly provide a project schedule with a breakdown of activities so we can review together through a meeting and determine if we can crash or fast track the schedule or reduce the project scope to be able to launch three days before black Friday.

RK
This sounds like asking the experts to answer a school homework problem, however...

If you are asking for an extension, you need to justify the reason very very clearly. You must explore your options such as Rami described, and justify them using facts and data, not feelings and opinions.

You also need to anticipate the pushback and have your plans B, C, and D. Black Friday is a huge revenue generating event for retailers. If you can't meet the deadline, there may be no business case to pay for a web page. You need to figure out how much functionality you can provide when, to provide the maximum cash flow to the customer until you have the bugs worked out.
It will depends on your project governance process. In the case of the company where I am working today this situation starts a change request. But, there is a big problem here: too late to detect a problem. Something is not working.
I'd start by meeting with the team and as Keith has suggested, have a few options in your back pocket. Chances are, missing Black Friday is not acceptable, so you'd need to look at other options such as:

1. Reducing scope
2. Simplifying the solution approach
3. Fast-tracking
4. Crashing

Kiron
I do agree with Sergio and Kiron.
In a nut shell you have four days to deliver yet have two weeks' work. Assuming two weeks is 10 days or 80 hours you have 96 hours to deliver. So, before you tamper with the deliverable make sure you know what you can deliver with Herculean effort.

Next, review your contract as to possible penalties for non-delivery as well as future impact of failure.

Before you make your problem the client's problem have at hand all the answers, all the options, understanding of the risks.

In the longer term figure out how you got into this mess and what needs to happen to prevent going forward.
Agree with Peter

set aside any reasoning, blaming, analysis and start managing a crisis. Inform the client what you intend to do, do not ask for permission. If they want to stop you they have to take action but will be too scared as they have no option (well they could have another crisis manager called in, so do what he would do).

This situation is not so rare, seen it several times. There always are reasons why this pops up late without warning.

It makes no sense to delay the GolIve for a specific SW for Black Friday, You have to keep the deadline, like all event managers do. Do not bother about the cost.

Install a war drum, post hourly status to all (also to keep management away), let the team work around the clock, bring in hands-on developers, remove any nicetohave features, create a cozy office environment where they sleep, eat and work and clean it up each day.

Accept it will cost more and make it a success. Best way to survive.

Good luck.

Thomas
I'm with Thomas on this one: your goal is to deliver something for Black Friday. What exactly you deliver will depend on you and your team.
I totally agree with the suggestions above. Have a clear inventory of what mandatory items were completed and the "must haves" that need to be completed for Black Friday. Ask the Dev Team if the mandatories are realistic for BF and if not, what can be done before BF and relay info to the Project Owner/Sponsor for expectations match. Transparency is very important to maintain trust and your Project Sponsor/Governance committee needs to be aware regularly of the project status.
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1 reply by Peter Rapin
Jul 15, 2022 12:16 PM
Peter Rapin
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The only thing to do to "maintain trust" at this stage is to deliver. The "trust" will be lost as soon as you engage with the client and try to deflect the problem to them.

You can hope to get them to assist you in resolving your problem but don't expect to "gain their trust". If anything you may be able to avoid a lawsuit.

This is business and in business if you damage the other party you are liable for that damage whether you meant to or not. Is that not the American way? Saying sorry won't cut it. Saying you can meet some of their requirements won't cut it. Saying you will do better next time won't cut it.

You have but one option - deliver. If you truly can't - find the money to pay damages.

How does your initial risk management program deal with a failure to deliver? - You probably don't have one.
Jul 15, 2022 11:56 AM
Replying to arlene trimble
...
I totally agree with the suggestions above. Have a clear inventory of what mandatory items were completed and the "must haves" that need to be completed for Black Friday. Ask the Dev Team if the mandatories are realistic for BF and if not, what can be done before BF and relay info to the Project Owner/Sponsor for expectations match. Transparency is very important to maintain trust and your Project Sponsor/Governance committee needs to be aware regularly of the project status.
The only thing to do to "maintain trust" at this stage is to deliver. The "trust" will be lost as soon as you engage with the client and try to deflect the problem to them.

You can hope to get them to assist you in resolving your problem but don't expect to "gain their trust". If anything you may be able to avoid a lawsuit.

This is business and in business if you damage the other party you are liable for that damage whether you meant to or not. Is that not the American way? Saying sorry won't cut it. Saying you can meet some of their requirements won't cut it. Saying you will do better next time won't cut it.

You have but one option - deliver. If you truly can't - find the money to pay damages.

How does your initial risk management program deal with a failure to deliver? - You probably don't have one.

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