7 Deadline Management Mistakes to Avoid In Your Facilities

April 8, 2024

Katherine Sproles

Imagine your facility projects aren’t progressing at the pace you want and you’re worried about meeting deadlines. Most likely you’re feeling pressured to keep stakeholders on task and ensure the project stays on budget. Even the most experienced facility managers sometimes struggle to juggle competing priorities. Thankfully, our IFMA community has some advice on how to manage and meet deadlines more efficiently.

We recently asked our LinkedIn following, “What are the most common deadline management mistakes you’ve encountered?” Here are some of their top responses:

1. “The biggest mistake is letting the client or customer dictate the timeline! You need to possess the skills to be able to explain the reasoning for your timeline including the need for a buffer for delays beyond your control like supply chain delays. If there is a business driver for the date, you work backwards and build in overtime, 24×7 schedule and/or deliver in phases.”

—Karen Heintz, MCR, PMP®, CRE Strategy and Operations Management at Dolby Laboratories

2. “Unrealistic deadlines. They create anxiety and place operational teams under pressure which can lead to one task taking an entire team away from critical aspects conducted by the FM team as a part of their daily business as usual. It creates a perfectionist culture, as teams fear getting it wrong if they don’t have a clear scope to work with. Communication is key and micromanagement can often become counter-productive.”

—Kelly Wallace, Facilities Manager for Macquarie Group

3. “Lack of Contingency Plans: Failure to have backup plans in place for unexpected events or delays can result in missed deadlines and increased stress.

Inconsistent Follow-up: Without regular monitoring and follow-up on tasks and projects, deadlines may be missed due to lack of accountability or oversight.”

—Olwethu Nkume, Senior Superintendent at City of Cape Town

4. “Not assigning clear roles for each aspect. While each department has their role over the greater project, assign people to the key milestones to ensure sight is not lost.”

—Gill Peters, Regional Facilities Manager at IDEXX

5. “Adding new scope of work at the last minute, lack of proper communication between all parties involved.”

—Fidel Travieso, Building Maintenance Supervisor at Miami-Dade County

6. “Deadlines are important to keep a project and personnel on check, however, deadline mistakes happen when the core personnel are not carried along before fixing the deadline. ”

—Nkwocha Chinedu, CIWFM, Lead Manager at Jacinth Facility Managers Limited

7. “Committing to a time frame for completion when even half of the required resources are not in place.”

—Anas Abdul Saleem, Facilities Management Manager at Saleh Bin Lahej Group

Editor’s Note: Some comments from this post have been edited for clarity or brevity. Thank you to our amazing online community for their contributions and their commitment to knowledge sharing.

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