What is the most common cause of a delayed project?

 Lousy Estimates!

Presuming you have a good business idea or project mission, bad estimates are the ugly culprit responsible for delayed projects.

Alarm clock

Along with bad estimates are some of these delights:

  1. Starting late. If we had known early on that we didn’t have enough time we would not have dithered around getting started.
  2. Fuzzy idea of what “done” looks like. You have a clear idea of what the customer wants, but lack the mechanism to ensure you’re both aligned on what is “done”.
  3. Underestimated complexity. Simply put, projects are bigger and more complex than they appear.
  4. Overestimated team capability. Team availability and expertise can get improperly assessed when there’s the initial enthusiasm of a new project and a high sense of urgency.
  5. Immature, sloppy The project manager is to keep everyone honest to the mission and the schedule.  There are plenty of opportunities to get distracted and pulled in multiple directions causing gaps in project oversight.
  6. Culture of fear, where people feel pressured to give dates, estimates and commitments to please their superiors… before requirements are known.

I back these up with a humorous but accurate research presentation, “7 Signs You Have a Bad Project Estimate … and What You Can Do About It.”

Just for fun 8 and 9 might be, ‘Fatal amnesia’ (refusing to learn from prior project experiences) and ‘Administrative evil’ (short cuts to give the appearance of having delivered promised results).

Remember: Bad estimating is a pervasive, insidious management problem, not a technical problem – and there certainly are solutions.

Considering that estimating is a continuous process, not a one-time event in a project lifecycle it’s never too late to get some expert advice.

Next steps:

As you no doubt know, project life is complex and fraught with many obstacles.  A seasoned professional can help you with the most efficient path to your project goals.

Why wait?  If you are an executive overseeing projects that have:

  1. Significant financial consequence for delays
  2. Repeated schedule slips
  3. High degree of uncertainty or risk
  4. Large number of cross-functional team members that are geographically dispersed
  5. High-level and constant focus, intensity, and attention from executives

We have over three decades in successfully managing technical projects of all kinds for companies of varying sizes, markets and cultures.

We offer a no-obligation consultation discussion that will help us determine a solution for your situation.

Request a Free Consultation

At no cost you will receive the benefit of an expert, independent review of your business growth goals or organizational issues.  If you are located within or near the San Francisco Bay Area we will visit in person. If you are more than 2-hours outside of the Bay Area we can meet over the phone or web-meeting. You will receive a written summary assessment that will include recommendations that are specially tailored to your situation.

There is no cost or obligation for this service.

To get started, use this form to send us your request. We’ll respond within 1 business day.

Or call (415) 246-7264

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2017-10-24T21:05:02+00:00By |Expert Advice|

About the Author:

Joe Kolinger is President of Kolinger & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational transformation for business growth and profitability.  Having worked with hundreds of companies he provides elegant ways to solve complex problems through the application of strategy, technology and people.