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Communicative Approach for Project Delay


Project managers are cognizant of the fact that project completion can be jeopardized by a variety of factors that include, but are not limited to the absence of key project members, change in project specifications, and technical problems. All projects are susceptible to the unavoidable risk of delays; therefore, efficient leaders have to be able to communicate information about a change in a project schedule to various stakeholders. This paper aims to outline a communicative approach to a scenario in which a project manager has to report on a project delay.

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Project Status Report

Taking responsibility is the key to reporting delays in project completion. As a project manager, I should bear the brunt of the project sponsor’s frustration instead of trying to lay blame on the project team members (Burnett, 2012). A project manager who avoids responsibility for changes in the schedule might be perceived as an ineffective leader who is not able to identify and anticipate possible risks to timely project completion. It is important to remember that “there should be good, clear reasons and not excuses for any delay” (Burnett, 2012, p. 42). Even though the reason for the project delay is a serious technical problem, it is necessary to provide both the project sponsor and the leadership team with specific details on the nature of the problem. The involved parties are well aware of “the well-worn excuse ‘technical problems’” (Burnett, 2012, p. 42); therefore, the explanations are necessary to reassure them that inability to meet a major milestone was not caused by inadequate planning, lack of communication, or incompetency. I will also reaffirm the participants of the monthly project status report meeting in a project team’s commitment to project completion. They will be notified that I have solicited opinions of all key members of the project team on the feasibility of overcoming the hindrance in the shortest term possible (Montgomery, 2013).

The leadership team and the project sponsor have to know that even though the project execution roadmap has been subjected to minor changes, a high-level of leadership will allow aligning all project team members and material resources in such a way as to ensure that the delay will be used for the exploration of improvement opportunities. I will reassure the project sponsor that the implementation phase of the project hinges on my ability to be in a proactive managerial mode. To prove my dedication to the success of the project, the client will be provided with program evaluation and review technique (PERT) charts that include a chronological sequence of project stages (Burnett, 2012). I will also offer them a detailed plan of how to reduce the schedule window. The leadership team will be provided with a report on all project activities as well as the explanation of what critical tasks have to be performed to stop the schedule slippage. By doing so, I will be able to reassure the involved parties that I perfectly realize all schedule risks and will be able to avoid future postponements. Furthermore, the participants of the meeting will be offered daily reports on the project’s progress. I will also reassure them that the schedule postponement will not result in the cost increases.


The paper outlined a plan of communicating the project delay on the monthly project status report meeting. The provided communicative approach was chosen as the most effective mitigation strategy for reporting a project delay that might undermine the professional reputation of a project manager.


Burnett, K. (2012). The project management paradigm. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

Montgomery, H. (2013). Dealing with project delays: 5 ways to talk with your client. Web.

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