One of the critical part of project management is managing project delays that are impacting project schedule and cost. If a file, configuration, item, part, module... etc is a prerequisite for a task or package of your project, and if this prerequisite is getting delayed then your schedule will be affected and as a consequence your cost may increase.

In this case, your resources that will work on regarding package will be waiting and creating additional cost for your project. In order to overcome this issue, there are following rule of thumbs to follow:

1-) Including Delays in Contract's "Change Management Policy" Section:

Write down in your contract that every kind of delay that is caused by external factors and not related to your company, will be logged and cost affect of these delays will be managed based on your company's "change management policy". Your contract should include "change management policy" rules will will highlight how you will rate additional change requests if they raise during project. Delays that may occur in project should be highlighted and rate for these delays should be mentioned in your change management policy which will be in your contract.

2-) Keep Project Log, Report to Customer and Write Down Delays:

Note that, as long as you do not have a written evidence, most of the time, verbal warnings are not taken into account and are not used in future as an evidence. Thus, whenever a delay happens, write this delay to customer as an e-mail, report, issue ... etc based on your communication plan of your project. Then, write this into your project log.

3-) Keeping Delay Log:

Following is an example from one of my software projects. As seen below, every delay is written with its explanation, delay/problem start date and resolution date, impact of delay on schedule, effort lost due to delay and affected resource number. Actually, Effort Lost is calculated as below:

Effort Lost = impact on schedule x affected resource number

Delay Reason Delay/Problem Start Date Resolution Date Impact on Schedule (work days)) Effort Lost(man days) Affected Resource Number
Services that needs to work on 2 Sep started to work on 5 Sep 2nd of Sep 5th of Sep 4 28 7
Time Lost due to Account Lock 9th of Sep 10th of Sep 0.5 3 6
Mobile Web HTML Screens Delay 9th of Sep 13th of Sep 0 0 0
Time Lost during DB Access Authorization for Developers 11th of Sep 12th of Sep 1 7 7

As seen above 3rd problem is a delay but did not affect the project schedule. So, it is not affecting the cost and project plan directly. This might be due to using resources for other tasks and eliminating the effort lost caused by this delay. Keeping this record even if it is not affecting project will give your customer trust about your project management and increase trust between you and your customer.

As seen below, total delays are now affecting your project plan by 5.5 working days, and increasing your cost by 38 man/days.

TOTAL Impact on Schedule (working days) 5.5 TOTAL Effort Lost /Additional Cost on Project (Man/Days) 38

This delay and cost problem can be resolved in two ways:

  • a-) Schedule can be extended and project can be finished 5.5 working days later.
  • b-) If delay cannot be tolerable, this can be fixed by crashing the project. Crashing means, increasing your resource number to reduce the time that a work can completed or forcing your resources to work for overtime to move project on schedule again.

Note that, either way has similar affect on project cost (38 man/days). Thus, this needs to be communicated with customer and needs to be charged.

Most of the customers are reluctant to pay delays happening on a project when they first hear this. However, this is the nature of project and resources are not your free mine. Thus, whenever delays start to happen it should be communicated to customer via e-mail and delay log as above need to be sent to customer weekly as an attachment to your project progress report.

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