One thing is for sure: projects can drag on and on if you don’t have the mechanisms in place to know when done is ‘done’. With some projects, there’s a very definite line in the sand … “this project must be completed by this day” in order to meet a product launch, special event or other date-driven milestone. In that case, typically all the major or must-have deliverables need to be in place, with an agreement to finish any loose ends, but the start/finish dates are generally clear. Still other projects are defined by a set number of person-hours of effort and the project is over when the hours are used up. Regardless of the project approach, adding features, changes or revisions can drive time and cost into the project. If the client has lots of money and you have lots of time/resources, then the never-ending project can be a winner for your business. But if you need to start some new projects and your resources are tied up with ongoing changes to a lingering project, you could have a problem.

So what to do…

  • make sure the      project is properly sized so the end date can be forecasted and you have      realistic dates to work to based on the requirements
  • let your client know      you have a certain amount of time allocated to this project so it needs to      finish on time or close to it. If it goes beyond an agreed to date because      the client has been MIA or behind in their own deliverables, you may want      to consider adding a premium to your service
  • advise the client      that adding new features or functionality could have a big impact on their      budget or launch date. Suggest these changes or enhancements be included in      their next project.

Delays are an inevitable part of projects. Do you have a story you’d like to share with us about an endless project? We’d love to hear from you, leave your comments at