Here's the scenario: The main point of contact was fairly active up until the project came close to the launch date. At that point, the client started to miss the dates for requirements that were needed for the next set of tasks.

What is the process for managing the schedule in this case?

Say, to do X, we need Y. Client needs to provide Y on Jan 15.

What does the PM do on Jan 16 assuming Y was not provided the day earlier?

Going forward, would communication issues like these go into the Risk Register?

  • @MarvMills thanks. I thought the baseline shouldn't be updated due to variances - was assuming that this would be just that, i.e. variance. Am I wrong?
    – jpco
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 21:55
  • Regarding this being a schedule risk, I understand it's due to an external delivery and should have logged it as such. What would be the mitigation plan though? A secondary point of contact to deliver if primary is unavailable?
    – jpco
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 21:57
  • @MarvMills ; if your comment was an answer I would upvote it. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 14:56
  • 1
    Rescheduling and rebaselining are two different things. You can and should reschedule and replan, but that does not mean you establish another baseline. Continue to report the variances. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 17:36
  • Sounds like this should be escalated and the higher powers of each team need to realign expectations. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 10:15

3 Answers 3


The simple answer to "What does the PM do when the milestone passes" is:

Re-schedule the project plan to take the delays into account then report on milestone changes back to the project sponsors and stakeholders.

It is assumed that the PM would have been raising a risk to the project schedule in the risk log and talking to all relevant people in the run up to the critical deadline. I don't agree these are communication issues, this is a schedule risk based on external delivery deadlines. Deadlines like these should be shouted from the rooftops by the PM and risks and visibility reviewed and managed on a daily basis. Too late is too late, don't let it get that far!


Managing the potential delays in advance through communication are very important. However, there should be one or more contractual requirements laid in advance to mitigate any delays on the client's end. For example, one of these requirements could give your team the right to move forward if the deadline is not met by the client.

The requirement(s) you establish should be in order to mitigate the opportunity cost for your team in the event a deadline is not met by the client. These should be reviewed with the client and agreed upon prior to the project start so that there are no surprises in the event these rules have to be utilized.


The simplest solution would be to move the deadline for support materials ahead by a week or two. If the client notices, just explain (much more politely than what I'm saying) that deadlines are deadlines and if they aren't willing to show up to the field on time, they shouldn't be playing.

As stated above, you also need your safety net in place. Make it very clear in the contract that THEY are responsible for time lost due to lack of follow through on their part.

If you have someone who has a good rapport with someone from their office, maybe have them send a polite reminder a few days ahead of time. My personal experience with reminding people is some like it and some find it patronizing, but most people are understanding.

As for what to do when their materials are late? Well, the PM should have a contingency plan to fall back on. Generally, stuff that is related to the project, but has no time constraint or dependencies.

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