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How To Deal With Delays in Project Management?,

Ivana Vnučec Posted on March 6, 2023


How to deal with delays in project management is one of the questions that 69% of software development teams should wonder. According to the CHAOS Report, only 31% of all software is finished on time and on budget.

For more than 50% of the projects, some parts of the projects remain a challenge. Either the deadline, budget, goal, providing value, or customer satisfaction. Moreover, the PMI report that observes only champions, claims that 58% of successful projects finish in time.

To know how to deal with delays in project management, you should first know what are causes of these delays are. In the article below we listed some of the most common causes of software project delays. We also explained how you can overcome each of the reasons for delays and successfully deal with delays in the PM industry.

Change in project scope

Project scope is a document or a tool that determines the project. Project management defines goals, deliverables, tasks, features, limitations, budgets, and deadlines. Eventually, the smallest unit work division is the user story. Equally, the project scope is everything that needs to be finished to deliver the project. Project scope management is the sum of work done to define project scope.

Now, once you have a project scope, you will want to keep it unchanged. But you can’t avoid scope changes or scope creep. Scope creep is a change created from existing features. It refers to the growth or movement of some objectives. Project change is about the overall project, changing features from the original plan.

There are several cases when a change in project scope can have a bad impact on your project. The first of them is if you don’t have a structural approach. If your written requirements are not well-documented in all phases of the project, it will be hard to track the changes. The documentation of changes should be structurally organized and easy to understand. When documenting requirements, teams should pay attention not to repeat documenting bad habits such as no template and outdated requirements.

Change of resources

The second cause of delays in project management is the changes in both internal and external resources.

Internal resources can be new and more advanced technology. Therefore, your team members need extra time to pick up the skills for these new technologies. The unavailability of team members, because they are working on other projects, can also slow down your project. Changes in higher levels of the project can multiply changes in lower levels. Without tracking resources, projects often lead to resource shortages.

Other than internal resources, there are also changes in external resources. For example, suppliers. If they don’t deliver the input on time, you cannot make the output. The probability of late input depends on your communication with external resources. Many teams don’t set clear expectations and boundaries. If it’s not clear what you expect, you make space for a variety of outcomes.

How to manage changes in resources?

Once you receive the input, you should give your feedback. That way people who you work with will know whether the work is done well or whether they should improve it.

Some teams fail to have regular reviews of internal or external resources and their delivery progress. To make sure you communicate with parties that provide resources, you can use a tool that provides visual requirements management. With good road mapping inside of your project management tool, you can know where your suppliers stand and plan accordingly.

The poorly planned timeline

If there are not enough resources, it will be hard to plan tasks with resources. Moreover, tasks should be planned on a display that is accessible to everyone. They should be visually understandable and include enough information. Equally important is that timeline, a chronological overview of the tasks contains the:

  • Dates of tasks (start date and deadline)
  • Duration of tasks
  • Assignees
  • Task dependencies.

Correspondingly, the most popular kind of timeline is the Gantt chart.


However, if you omit part of the information or the team doesn’t understand the task, the timeline can be time-consuming.

How to make a better timeline?

There are a few steps that will help you to make a good timeline. The first is to make sure you have a project charter, project plan, and work breakdown structure WBS. Next, make sure you understand what is decomposition in project management and break down your project into smaller chunks of work.

A clear work breakdown structure (WBS) will help you to understand what are dependencies. Define dependencies and make sure assignees understand them. That will help you to predict the time needed for every task and the dependencies of tasks.

Constraints and dependencies are not defined well

To manage objectives and deliverables you need first to understand constraints and dependencies. By definition, constraints are restrictions that limit your project. They are typically connected to other constraints so if one of them changes, that will probably affect other constraints.

To point out, the most basic constraints that frame your project are project scope, time, and cost. These three make the project management triangle. With this in mind, new terminology adds extra 3 constraints, quality, risk, and resources.


Constraints and dependencies relate tasks into interconnected projects. Dependencies are relations between activities that determine the priority of these activities. There are 4 standard types of dependencies.


Source: Wikipedia

How to handle constraints and dependencies?

Knowing what are your constraints and dependencies will have an influence on your sprint velocity. Only after you know what are your these two, you can move to deliverables and objectives. The difference between deliverables and objectives is in focus. Objectives define the result, and benefit for the end-user. It is the external value of the project. On the other hand, deliverables define the parts of the software solution that is enabling the value. In detail, deliverables are internal values.

To manage them better is always good to have a good project hierarchy. That way you don’t lose the track of the tasks. It enables you to always have in mind the feature, the final goal, instead of seeing only the purpose of individual tasks.

Ineffective communication with stakeholders

Stakeholders are the people with who you don’t want to argue, right? They are the people who have the biggest influence on the project. Moreover, the result of the project is defined by the stakeholders’ satisfaction.

Communication is one of the important interpersonal skills in project management. However, sometimes is the communication exactly why there are delays in your project.

How to have better communication with stakeholders?

To have effective communication with them, first, you should identify them. If your project has good documentation, you won’t have a problem with identifying stakeholders. Mistakes that development teams are making are not including the stakeholders throughout the project.

As matter of fact, to avoid late corrections, it helps to include them in the project board and ask for feedback. They should also approve all the deliverables in time. Since communication is the key to stakeholders, teams should include them in progress from the initiating phase.

Unpredictable scenarios

We have mentioned 6 causes of delays you can see coming by using different agile methodologies. The seventh cause is the one you cannot foresee. That is when some natural disasters come into play. Further, we would all agree it is hard to reach the deadline if half of the employees suffered from disease or earthquake.

How to handle unpredictable scenarios?

Even though you can’t predict disasters, you can prepare for them. One of the things you can do is to be aware of the possibility of disaster and how it could affect your business. Second thing is to create communication plans and backup documents. Eventually, you need to think about how you will come back to the market after – the recovery plan.

How to Deal with Project Management Delays

After you consider all the possible reasons for delays, you will be able to make a strategy on how to avoid them. However, if they still happen, this is how to deal with project management delays:

  • Use a tool that synchronizes upgrades in all parts of the project plan
  • Have regular team meetings
  • Be detailed about scheduling
  • Track the progress of the process

We hope you will recognize these 6 causes of delays in your projects and prevent them.

If there is something that we didn’t cover, feel free to reach out on our social media. Let’s discuss it in more detail!