It doesn’t matter how effective you might be at team management; it’s all but impossible to avoid the possibility of something going wrong with projects sometimes. In many cases, problems might be completely out of your hands. Delays are not uncommon, a survey has shown that a staggering 77% of projects run late, with 75% going over budget.
Although delays can be infuriating for all involved, project management will need to keep their focus and concentrate on what to do next. An important part of dealing with delays is communicating them with the client. This can be tricky to do and get the desired results, so here are 6 top tips on how to communicate project delays effectively.
1. Update The Customer as Soon as You Know
Having to tell a client that their project is delayed can be an awkward situation and something that a lot of people would try to avoid if possible. This might lead some people to try and delay telling the client, but this is only likely to worsen the situation.
It’s best to make the client aware of any delays as soon as you know. Doing so will help you maintain your professionalism despite the delay. It will also help give the client time to make other necessary arrangements. If you leave it until the last minute, you can leave the client in a tough situation with no time to fix it.
2. Keep Records
If there is a delay, the client may have questions. In such cases, it’s best to have all the answers available to you.
Keeping productivity records will ensure you can show the client that you’ve practiced strong team management to keep the project running on time. You can also consider using project management software like the PK4 Time
Using a project management tool like the PK4 TimeTracker can help you manage projects, organize tasks and build confidence within your team. You don’t need to shuffle between complex spreadsheets, email and other tools to keep your projects on course. Everything happens within one integrated system. And you’ll have all the time that your team has spent on the project, right at your finger tips. So you can present accurate data to your customer to back up your efforts. And you can make it easy by giving your contractors access to the PK4 TimeTracker Mobile or Web app, so that tthey can track their time to the project as well, without needing to be in Salesforce.
3. Have a Solution Ready
Before you let your client know about any delays, it’s best to have a solution available. When you have a solution available, it helps to demonstrate that you’re doing what you can to rectify things as soon as possible.
Having a solution is one of the most important aspects of workplace management. Telling the client about your solution will help to take the edge of the bad news and help them to focus on the positives instead. It also allows the client to have their say about your solution, allowing them to contribute to making it work.
It’s important to remain positive yourself. Remember, you’re the professional and project management is what you do best, so you should always give the impression that you’re in control even when overall performance doesn’t go to plan.
4. Don’t Blame Others
Blaming other people for poor performance is a sign of poor team management, no matter how accurate you might be. If the client presses you for specific reasons regarding work priorities or similar, you should be honest with them, but it should never be done to try and deflect blame away from yourself.
Blaming others will make you look very unprofessional and will achieve nothing. It can make you look as though you’re unwilling to accept responsibility yourself, which could make your client concerned about how the rest of the project management will go.
There’s no need even to mention why a project has gone wrong or who is to blame in most cases. The client will usually only be concerned about what is being done to get everything back on track as much as possible.
5. The Client Is Not Your Enemy
It’s entirely understandable if the client is frustrated at delays. After all, they have their time management and other issues to worry about. However, this does not mean a client becomes the enemy if they express their frustration.
Remember that the client will want the project completed in good time more so than you do, and they will likely cooperate with any attempt at getting things going again. You will likely need their cooperation to keep productivity high and get the project back on track, which means not making enemies.
You should certainly avoid saying it’s the client’s fault; doing so will only make them defensive. Instead, try to focus on work priorities and do what you can to get the client and team members working together to reach the same goal.
6. Update Often
In the case of a delay, it’s a good idea to keep the client regularly updated. They will be eager to know what progress is being made and will likely become frustrated if kept in the dark. You don’t necessarily need to keep in touch with them every day, but you should at least keep them posted on significant developments.
By keeping the client updated, you can help put their mind at rest while also giving them the opportunity to contribute. They may have a way of helping to make everything run as desired, so it’s a very good idea to have them fully on board.
While communicating project delays can be awkward, you can make things go much better if you communicate effectively. Remember to communicate as quickly and as honestly as possible and be ready to present a solution. It’s also essential to always remain professional. Avoid blaming other people and instead focus on what you intend to do to overcome the problems you’re facing.
Keeping time management details and other useful records can also be very beneficial. Doing so can help you identify where things went wrong, and they can also show to clients that you’re doing your best if you’re pushed to give explanations. Regardless, it’s best to keep on communicating clearly and do what you can to keep the client and your team working hand in hand with you.
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash