“The project cost and schedule suffered
as a result.”
Instead, Mr. Wessels says, a clear
executive mission should be commu-
nicated at the start of the project and
“At the end of each major piece of
work, a control gate review of deliver-
ables should be conducted to ensure the
project is performing as planned and
is still aligned with the mission of the
organization and delivering the value
for which the project was started,” he
says. “It’s a periodic opportunity to
stress the mission and determine if the
mission has changed.”
Poor resourcing can also be detri-
mental to a project’s schedule.
“When there aren’t enough resources,
the project team is forced into overtime,
and morale drops dramatically,” Mr.
Improperly skilled resources can be
just as problematic.
“‘Availability’ is not a skill set. You
can’t just use the next available body,”
he says. “In addition to quality and
inefficiency issues, team morale will
suffer because they know they aren’t
The immediate reaction to the first
sign of a schedule delay is often to have
teams work harder, longer, faster. But
that’s not always the best answer.
For one thing, overworking team
members—even with financial com-
In a discussion in the PMI Scheduling Community of Practice,
Stuart Miller, CAPM, PMI-SP, writes, “The most common way
I’ve seen for having ‘apparent’ negative float is unrecognized
concurrent activity. The second most common is estimates
that are padded. I often employ a critical chain approach to
time-sensitive projects, cutting all the padding out of individual
tasks and providing the buffer time at key coordination points.”
>> To read more and to offer your own
take, head to
pensation—will likely take a toll on
morale and quality.
“Even though team members are
working longer hours, productivity
can drop 60 percent, especially after
six to eight weeks of continued overtime,” Mr. Wessels says. “Then team
members get burned out, jump ship to
another project or leave the organization altogether.”
SAVE THE TEAM,
SAVE THE SCHEDULE
Sometimes there’s just no way to get
a project back on track other than to
involve an extra surge from team members, Mr. Sabry says.
One of the most traumatic scheduling complications of his career occurred
when he was managing a project in
the United Arab Emirates and then-president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan
Al Nahyan died. The entire country,
including its government offices, immediately shut down for nearly two weeks.
Mr. Sabry leveraged the schedule
compression technique to shorten the
project schedule without minimizing
scope, and employed fast-tracking to
expedite certain project tasks by completing them simultaneously.
This involved team members putting in some extra hours. To maintain
morale, he made sure to reward and
recognize their efforts through bonuses,
time off, certificates of achievement
and training opportunities.
“If I know we have a big push com-
ing up, I might give the team a day or
an afternoon off,” Mr. Wessels says.
“That’s a strong incentive. People come
back with more vigor and energy.”
To ensure team morale stays intact
as the schedule is restored, project
managers must maintain clear lines of
“Project leaders should inform the
team of the recovery plan and keep
them updated on the status,” Mr.
During the schedule recovery
period, project managers should dis-