Early Indicators Of Project Delay!

Most ERP projects have to be delayed without much warning. It has a negative impact on team morale, project cost and business case.


Let us see some leading indicators of project delay:

Executive Leadership:

  1. No sense of urgency: Project sponsor and board do not communicate importance of the project. There is no carrot, no stick. As a result, project team works on their own pace. BAU work takes priority over project work. Project milestones are missed without much notice.
  2. Resources are not committed to the project: If project resources are not dedicated to the project then BAU work always takes priority over the project work. Similarly, if the ERP vendor resources are not committed then your project tasks will be delayed.
  3. No clear project business case and/or objective: Without clear business case and/or project objective, project team and other stakeholders tend to be distracted. New scope is added without much thought. Project delay is inevitable.
  4. Lack of executive sponsorship: Project sponsor and board plays a key role. If the appropriate executives are not on the board,  board is not steering the project, board in not aligned then project is likely to be delayed.

Project Management:

  1. Burn rate is slower than planned: If the planned burn rate (effort) is slower than planned then it is an early indicator that project is moving slowly than planned.
  2. Burn rate is not proportional to percentage completion: It means that either task was under estimated, or team/individual undertaking the task is not effective. If that task is on critical path than it will delay the project.
  3. No news on the tasks from the team: Sometimes we do not hear any update on the tasks assigned to project team. Project managers think, no news must be good news. However, more likely Project managers receives bitter surprises.
  4. Only good news: All is well is a distraction and deception. Project managers must probe and get direct/indirect feedback to understand real progress on the project tasks.
  5. Tasks slippage exceed beyond the threshold: If many tasks are allowed to slip in parallel and dependent tasks are to be executed by limited number of resources then we have a resource bottleneck. If additional resources are not added to the project then project may have to delay.
  6. Project plan in rear loaded: If majority of the tasks are starting late in the project then project is more likely to be delayed. Project manager may have planned rear loaded project because of unavailability of the resources. Look out for expected burn rate/ effort per month to see if the project is rear loaded.
  7. Other more general point: Lack of contingency planning, risk management, poor planning, frequent change of resources, lack of ownership, scope control, trying to please everyone, decision making, long chain of command/lengthy approval process.

What is your experience? Drop me a comment.

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