How To Avoid Project Delays

how to avoid project delays

There’s more to being a good client than just paying on time.

To keep projects running smoothly (and on time) you’ll need them to do other things for you. Provide materials. Show up to meetings. Make decisions.

Including these in your contract minimizes the time and energy you’ll need to devote to chasing, having awkward conversations, or spinning your wheels in project limbo.

Glitches, delays, wasted time, re-work.

If you’ve ever had a project drag on and on, seemingly without end, chances are it’s because of one of those bad boys.

Maximizing the profitability of each client you work with means more than just negotiating the right price. Cutting out the wasted time and energy leaves you more time for new clients, new projects, and fundamental business building.

So how do we ensure things run full steam ahead?

Reflect on your last few projects, or a selection of the most painful ones. What went wrong? What could your clients have done differently? Which pain points can you erase for good?

This exercise can be cathartic. A good ol’ fashioned complaining session between you and your journal. Ahhhh. Feels better to get them out of your head, doesn’t it?

Now, embed these requirements in your contract to ensure that 1) you and your clients are on the same page and there are no last-minute surprises that hold up your work, and 2) If these requirements aren’t fulfilled, you have something to do about it.

This could include…

What materials need to be provided
    Photographs, copy, background documentation

When those materials need to be received
    Before work begins, at key milestones, exact dates if possible

Format for feedback
    By email once a week, during monthly check-in calls

How quickly feedback needs to be given
    Decisions in 72 hours, or quick enough to keep things moving!

Extra Credit

You can also include some ‘What Ifs…’ just in case those client requirements aren’t met.

Photographs don’t arrive on time?
    Project is put on hold.

Client goes incommunicado for 3 weeks?
    Project on hold, and a re-start fee is required.

Indecision means additional iterations?
    Out-of-scope fees apply.

How to include this in your contract

These requirements dovetail nicely with the language you have surrounding the deliverable requirements. In a nutshell, “I can deliver X, Y, long as you provide A, B, C.” Keeping it simple is key - no confusion from too many words and fancy phrasing.