6

I work for a software company. A company hired us to patch some functionality on an existing system.

After a few meetings, we agreed that we would need information about the current system, as well as data (from a database) that would allow us to write the new functionality.

Time passed and we constantly received incorrect information from the client. The deadline passed and we spoke to the client, who asked us to be patient as they would have to speak to their DB service provider and gaining data. After a while, they gave us some data that was broken and incomplete.

We don't want to drop the project, but their deadline for the functionality to be used is rapidly approaching. How can I let the company know, professionally, that we cannot complete the project due to the missing and broken information that we received from them?

They are an existing client that we have successfully built systems for, and we wouldn't want this to affect our working relationship.

What can I do?

11

How can I let the company know, professionally, that we cannot complete the project due to the missing and broken information that we received from them?

You simply call a meeting with the appropriate client folks. You tell them that you won't be able to meet their deadline and you tell them why. You also tell them what you would now need to complete the project, and your new estimate for doing so. If there are to be additional charges, you detail the new cost estimate.

Hopefully, you have been keeping them up to date with your progress all along, so that none of this is a surprise.

In future projects, you give them a deadline for their input. Once that deadline is passed, you indicate that the project will be delayed.

2

The project manager should clearly communicate the consequences and possibilities to the customer e.g.:

  • We can not meet the deadline set originally if we don't get the information
  • We already know that we also will not be able to meet another relevant deadline (e.g. for the customer)
  • Currently our expert/critical resource is allocated to this project, and if we keep him waiting it will increase the cost
  • Currently our expert/critical resource is allocated, but in one week he is already on another project and the delay will even be larger than the delay of obtaining the information and may increase the cost
  • The team ran out of work since it is waiting for the input, and currently costs are already incurring, without a possibility to mitigate
  • The team ran out of work since it is waiting for the input, and costs will incurr, without a possibility to mitigate
  • The team ran out of work since it is waiting for the input, and we can assign the team to another project if desired, but getting them back to the project may cause costs and/or delay

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.