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5 reasons your IT project is behind the schedule

If your projects have never fallen behind schedule, you didn't manage projects for long enough... At some point, every Project Manager faces the issue of projects falling behind the timeline, and understanding why this is happening will help you identify the root cause and get back on track faster.

And while there are many individual reasons why projects fall behind the timeline, there are a few in common:

  1. Scope Creep happens when the scope expands beyond what was initially planned or agreed upon. The main reason for scope creep is a change in requirements or poor scoping. This happens often, and usually, this is a key reason why projects take longer than expected. Scope Creep can be mitigated by better prioritization and tracking the project baseline. Adding additional resources might only sometimes be a solution as it might lead to even further delays - check Brooks' law for more.

  2. Poor project planning and management - there are several components that will influence the timeline, such as project resource capacity, scope modifications, change governance, and good tracking of overall delivery. Good management of the above components and identification of risks and issues before and during delivery should reduce possible delays.

  3. Unforeseen challenges - often, unexpected problems and challenges appear during delivery. This is why contingency plans and risk identification plays a significant role in project delivery.

  4. Communication issues - effective communication is the key to success in team delivery performance and causes problems not only for project delivery but for organizations in general. Poor communication within the project team (incl. delays with decision-making on the stakeholders' side) can lead to misunderstandings and misalignments that cause delays. To mitigate communication issues, Project Managers must ensure that a good communication plan is prepared and that communication is open and transparent on all levels of project execution.

  5. Dependencies - if the project is dependent on other tasks or teams being complete first, delays on their side will impact our project plan. Managing dependencies is very important - asking or sharing plans for delivery, transparent and regular communication between dependent parties and staying up to date will help mitigate the issue.


Many factors can contribute to a project falling behind schedule, and Project Managers need to be proactive in identifying and addressing these issues as they arise. By paying attention to the 5 reasons listed above, you should significantly reduce the risks of your projects falling behind.

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