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Top 10 Ways Projects Miss Milestones

People. Places. Technology. Have all three running at 110% you’re unstoppable. One slip and a project can come crashing down on your feet. No matter what you plan. You spend hours, days, weeks and even months planning to execute the perfect project — but it never fails something comes up. Something always comes up, doesn’t it? Missed deadlines are the worst. Incomplete deliverables hurt. Today we’re going to cover the top 10 Ways projects miss deadlines and how you can overcome them.

Top 10 Reasons Projects Miss Milestones

1. The Project Has No Leadership

Ever hear the saying, “Too many cooks in the kitchen.” It’s a real issue that has been the root cause of millions of projects failing. From a production standpoint, you need key players in key roles. You can’t risk having 20 Creative Directors and only 1 Graphic Designer. It just doesn’t make sense but happens all the time.

How do you avoid this? It’s simple. Empower your team. Let each individual clearly know their role on the project. Help them embrace this role and the deliverables they need to provide. And most of all hold them accountable at every step of the way if anything slips.

2. The Bar Was Raised Too High

The goal is perfection. The objective is to be the best of the best. Your product, brand, website — NOTHING on Earth stands a chance against it. Nothing except…YOU.

When defining your project ask yourself is it D.U.M.B.

  • Doable
  • Understandable
  • Measurable
  • Beneficial
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If at any stage of development the project can’t pass the “Dumb” Test guess what, neither will you. Now to be clear this doesn’t mean, don’t aim for the stars, aim beyond the stars and know exactly where it you’re going.

3. You Didn’t Have The Right Gear

One of the best movie scenes in the history cinema was Raiders Of The Lost Ark – Indiana Jones. Our hero finds himself in a deadly situation with a sword wielding ninja. There’s a crowd surrounding them, they sense death is near. After the ninja does some pretty damn intimidating sword stunts good ol’ Indiana whips out his gun and shoots him.

Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Just don’t be that guy. A huge problem with projects is excitement. Investors are ready to move forward. The team is hungry to pull the trigger. But sometimes you know it’s just not ready because you need one piece of gear. You need to buy an extra computer, subscribe to a program, improve your skills slightly. Don’t rush these stages.

4. The Team Wasn’t Ready

It hurts to say, but sometimes the team just doesn’t have the skills to be successful. This happens more often than not. The higher ups push for a project and leave it to the team to solve.

Protect your team. They will make or break your project. They will go to bat for you or run from you. They are the lifeline to meeting your deadline. So with this I ask, when is the last time you appreciated your team? Taken the time to really ask how they were doing and if they needed any help.

5. Your Resources Are Depleted

It’s Friday night, 7 PM and you’re in the office hustling. Love it. Problem is this has happened ten weeks in a row — why?

Hustling is a must for any project. This means grinding, putting in the extra hours, going above and beyond — but at some point you need to see what a project is and what it isn’t. At some point you need to realize you may be depleting your resources.

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The human body can only go on for so long before it burns out. It needs rest. It needs a break. It needs time outside what our development team likes to call “The Matrix” to enjoy the fresh air. Go and live. Give yourself a break. The project will be there Monday – we promise.

6. You Skipped 3 Steps

Think of your process a Bible. It is Holy. How many times have you skipped a step here and there only to kick yourself in the butt because of it? It happens to all of us. The process can’t be ignored, you spent months perfecting it for a reason.

Review your project. Ensure you are following each step, each part of the process is Holy. If someone skips a step consider it a sin. Hold them accountable. Hold yourself accountable. Break bad habits before they start.

7. The Team Has A Tumor

Remember how we said the team is the lifeline of your project? It is 100% true. The team also runs the risk of growing a tumor. This means a team member starts to form negative feelings about XYZ for whatever reason and it spreads like wildfire.

We can’t stress enough the importance of having your team’s back. The moment you see a tumor form you need to treat it before it spreads. And in some situations you need to cut off the tumor completely. Don’t have you project or team suffer because of a tumor — it doesn’t need too.

8. The Project Has Unexpected Bugs

You can’t plan 24/7 Eight Days A Week and the project will still risk having bugs. This is a given. To think it won’t is silly. Every project has it’s unexpected turns.

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So how do you prepare for what you don’t know? How do you plan for the unexpected? Be prepared to manage the needs of development. Big or small. Have in place measures to ensure the project will thrive IF the unexpected is ever expected.

This is probably where you’ll find The Bug Squasher most useful. Yes, this is a shameless plug but you can’t thank us later IF and WHEN the unexpected happens.

9. Team Communication Has Fizzled Away

Relationships feel stress for typically the same reasons – money, intimacy, and communication. Look at your project as a relationship. Where is it hurting the most?

It may surprise you when you take a step back you’ll find team members working in the zone. Working so much, they forget to connect with the rest of the team. This is when having internal meetings is a good idea — ONLY if the meeting has a point.

Ah, yes, this is tricky. Most people hate meetings – they’re time sucks. Don’t have a meeting for the sake of having a meeting — people gotta work! Have a meeting because you want to connect with a team member or even better recognize a team member for their achievements.

10. Your Best Friend Scope Creep Has Returned

This project has 10 stages. They were clearly defined months ago. So why are you talking about stage 14? How did 4 extra stages get added to this project?

Scope Creep is never good. Do everything you can to put a wall between it and your project. The moment it gets its hands on your team you are in grave danger.

-The Bug Squasher Team

PS. Don’t feel discouraged if your project is at risk of missing a deadline. Take a moment. Reset. And get back on track. You got this far – don’t give up. Take this as a moment to learn and grow.

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