Technical Project Management FAQs: Is Your Project Struggling With Unrealistic Deadlines?

January 15, 2023

Developers are constantly under pressure to meet deadlines with a polished product ready to launch. However, as most developers can attest, projects often fail to launch as planned. They may end up released with fewer features or be delayed altogether. What causes this problem, and how can you solve it? Better technical project management is key. However, it’s not the technical side that you should be worried about. Learn what really makes your projects struggle to meet deadlines.

Technical Project Management FAQs: Is Your Project Struggling With Unrealistic Deadlines?

The Most Common Cause of Delayed Projects

Delayed launches not only increase the cost of a project, but they can even lead to cancellation entirely. Almost one-third of projects die before launch due to repeated delays. What causes this problem? A UK study surveyed and interviewed 40 software-developing companies to identify the most common causes of delays. The study found that poor coordination and unrealistic expectations were among the highest-ranked reasons. Interestingly, technical difficulties were rarely the reason.

Respondents also cited conflict between members, which stemmed from the aforementioned planning problems. Clearly, managerial issues have the most potential to disrupt a project’s success. When there’s a disconnect between management’s expectations and a team’s capacity to deliver, problems will arise, and delays become more common. If you’ve been struggling to meet deadlines, it could be a sign that your expectations are off the mark. It may be beneficial to bring in a third-party consultant to review your project.

How Do You Know If Your Deadlines Are Unrealistic?

Several signs point to a problem with your deadlines. First, if your team regularly needs to go into crunch time to meet deadlines, they’re probably unrealistic. Crunch time not only exhausts your team, but it also costs more in overtime and turnover as employees often leave after finishing highly stressful projects. Another red flag is when your deadlines haven’t changed despite making significant changes to the project’s scope or features. Changes take time to implement; your deadlines must change, too.

Nevertheless, some factors don’t neatly align with deadline viability. For example, you might be tempted to hire additional staff to accelerate project development. However, without a clear need and assignment for new hires, you may end up creating more conflict or disconnect with your team. The same UK study noted that “more is less” in many cases, and additional hires usually failed to make deadlines more realistic. Adding another wheel to a car doesn’t improve velocity; it just adds friction.

How to Meet Your Deadlines Consistently

If you regularly have to push back your deadlines, the most likely culprit is management. Communication is vital to ensuring accurate, viable deadlines. If you don’t discuss the scope of a project with your team and get their input, you may overpromise to a client and underdeliver. However, you may be able to optimize your staff’s performance and improve your delivery times with better strategies and organizational tools.

At Project Genetics, we specialize in getting projects back on track. Contact Project Genetics to speak to one of our representatives.  

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