Managing Project Schedule Overruns

Interestingly, some tasks in a project plan can suffer a schedule overrun and yet not have a financial impact on the project' s budget. If you ' ve been steadily working along and most of the project' s tasks to date have come in well under budget, there ' s probably a budgetary cushion. But perhaps there' s one task that ran into a problem and will require not only a little more time but also a little more money. No problem! You' ve got the budget cushion there to take care of the financial shortfall, but what about the schedule implications?

Or, alternatively, think of the earlier example where a vendor notifies you that some equipment is going to be two weeks late. If your team members have other tasks to do and won' t be sitting around, on the payroll, waiting for the delivery, then there isn' t any direct impact to the project' s budget. But on the other hand, your schedule may be thrown off by two weeks, or perhaps even more considering ancillary impacts the delay may have on other tasks. The methodology you' l l use for situations like this is exactly as it was for other similar incidents.

Understand Make an effort to understand why the schedule change is required. Plan your schedule change. Pevelop Plan B in case stakeholders and sponsors don ' t embrace the change.

Mitigate Try to avoid delays—but failing that, reduce them by as much as possible.

Communicate Communicate the schedule changes to stakeholders and sponsors. Get their input as to the direction you should go. Use selling tactics, if need be, to get them to understand and embrace the need for the change.

Sign-off Obtain sign-off acceptance for the changes to be made.

Plan If stakeholders and sponsors won 't approve the changes, revert to Plan B.

As always, a task that requires a schedule change but doesn' t impact project budget still has to go through a process where stakeholders and, ultimately, the sponsor make a decision about the proposed change ' s worth.

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