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KPI of the Day – Project Management: # Project delay

project delay


Measures the total delay of the project by summing the delays registered in each of the stages of project implementation.


To provide an indication of the total delay time, as such event can have drastic consequences on the success of the project.


# Project delay is recommended for projects with a strict time-frame for delivery, as project delays might severely impact the client – contractor relationships. Good communication and client-contractor relationships are important for the success of any project, so making provisions in a project for events such as weather delays, resources scarceness reduces disputes.

Many managers would agree to the argument that project delays are sometimes inevitable. They can happen for a number of reasons, and they can be either due to internal or external causes. Managers are advised to focus on finding the best ways to handle inevitable project delays.

There are several ways to reduce the number of project delays. One of the less apparent methods actually lies at the initial stage of the project, which is the scheduling and planning. It often helps to look at deadlines as tools that help set the expectations for performance during project execution, as a way to actually reduce workload instead of adding on it.

It is therefore highly important to consider a realistic schedule and deadline for each project, possibly achieved through providing goals, benchmarks, and milestones during project implementation.

Other methods also include the following:

  • Staff provisioning against illness, holidays, or other absences that may cause project delays;
  • Conducting proactive risk and quality assessment prior to commencing a project;
  • Identifying and preparing alternatives for project workflow;
  • Designing schedules which reflect on resource availability and related capabilities;
  • Creating specific workflows that can be maintained properly to avoid delay due to errors;
  • Minding ‘extenuating circumstances’ upon setting project deadlines.

Targets for this KPI can vary significantly depending on the project type, project size and its initial scheduled duration. Usually, a project delay of no more than 5-10% from the initial scheduled duration is considered as acceptable due to the large number of unforeseen factors that can negatively impact the execution of a project, especially in particular industries such as construction.

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