delay is hard
enough to handle at sea level. High in
the Andes mountains, it can potentially
doom a project.
On a recent mining project in that
South American range, procurement
of the main equipment wasn’t going
to happen in time. Because it was an
activity in the critical path, the entire
schedule would be compromised.
Almost every project professional
has been there. It’s how you handle
such a crisis that makes the difference
between success and failure.
In this case, Edwin Monzón, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMP, project scheduler
for Antamina, a mining company in
San Marcos, Peru, identified the holdup
as quickly as possible.
This was accomplished by analyzing
the variation between baseline dates
and forecast dates from purchase status
reports and expediting status reports for
every purchase order. The project control group created a “traffic light” tool
that identified the variances by color.
“This let us identify, quickly and
easily, the procurement delays in a project with a lot of purchase orders,” Mr.
The project risk management plan
had a cost contingency for change
in the method of transportation for
delayed purchase orders.
“In my project, it was better to pay
for air transportation than pay for a contractor claim for stopped resources—
both people and equipment,” he adds.
By switching the method of transporting the supplies from sea to air,
his project team was able to make up
But just as that scheduling conflict
was under control, another cropped up.
“As soon as the equipment began
to arrive at the mine, we had a strike
led by the local community, which
delayed the equipment installation,”
Mr. Monzón says.
There may not be a single reason why a
project gets thrown off-kilter. There are,
however, plenty of mistakes that practically ensure a project will fall behind
schedule—poor initial planning being a
“We usually say, ‘If you failed to
plan, you planned to fail,’” says Lotfy
Sabry, CAPM, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP,
PMP, PgMP, owner of the project management consultancy EPM (Experts
Project Management) in Dubai, United
In many cases, project sponsors or
company executives push to start the
project quickly rather than dedicate
time to good planning, according to
Don Wessels, PMP, senior consultant
and instructor in the project and program management business unit of
Management Concepts, a training firm
in Vienna, Virginia, USA.
Scheduling problems can quickly
result from several issues, Mr. Monzón
n deficient scope definition
n poor stakeholder identification