project management weather

4 Ways Project Managers Can Adjust to Weather Delays

November 10, 2011 by

Efficient project planning is a huge part of every project manager’s job.  Unfortunately, the weather does not always cooperate with well-planned schedules and time-sensitive events.

Keeping the following tips in mind can help you plan for the inevitable weather delay with increased confidence and finesse.


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4 Ways Project Managers Can Adjust to Weather Delays

1. Know the weather trends in the areas in which you are working

Different areas deal with weather differently. A state that gets frequent snow will have the equipment and knowledge to deal with it with limited workday interruptions. In a state that doesn’t often get snow, the odd snowstorm can be a major hassle.

Plan your projects around knowledge of local weather patterns to avoid unnecessary stress on team members and the frustrations that come with re-scheduling. If you know that afternoon thunderstorm are common in the summer, it would make more sense to schedule outdoor tasks in the morning.


2. Consider the weather when making project plans

Anticipate weather delays when setting your long-range plans for a project. Make allowances for these delays in your scheduling and in the language of your contract. Be sure to clearly communicate to clients, contractors and other team members about your weather delay policies.

If everyone is informed from the beginning, then there is less chance of false expectations and misunderstandings later should weather delays occur.

If there is going to be a schedule change, be sure that is clearly communicated to everyone on the team to keep the progress moving smoothly.


3. Document weather delays and communicate them to the client as the project moves along

Out of state clients may not be aware of weather delays if the project is taking place far away. Such clients will be more understanding about delays if they know about them as they occur. Keep all delays documented to reduce the chance of discrepancies later.

Even when there is an unexpected delay, you should do all you can to minimize the impact on the projected end date.

Figure out an adjusted schedule when the delay has passed and share it with your team and the client.


4. Be resilient and maintain a positive outlook

People respond to a leader’s attitude, so it is important to be organized and calm when communicating weather emergency and delay information. Your ability to deal with even the most severe weather delays can help to establish you as a trusted leader.

Set up alternative methods of communications should the Internet be down due to weather. Teach all team members the expected protocol for weather delays. Be sure to have policies in place ahead of time and to adjust them as necessary for projects in geographically different areas.

After the weather delay is over, ask for feedback from all team members on how the situation was handled. Adjust your policies so that you’ll be more prepared next time.

How you respond to severe weather can make a lasting impression on your client and your team.  Preparing documents, establishing routine protocol and creating agreements that reflect the possibilities of weather delays can minimize their impact on your projects no matter what the weather may bring.


Don’t let the thought of going back to school get you under the weather! This post was created on behalf of Villanova University’s online programs


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