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5 Reasons for Cost And Time Overruns in E-learning Projects

Project managers handling e-learning projects are often faced with cost and time overruns; as a project manager, I’m sure you too have experienced this. Like you, they try to find the reasons and ways to deal with this pervasive issue. They want to know the causes for project cost overruns and schedule delays.

With 16 years of experience in handling custom e-learning projects, we know the challenges in executing e-learning projects within budget and time. This blog explores the major reasons behind cost and time overruns that vendors run into when executing e-learning projects.

1. Initiating a project even before the inputs are ready

You must have worked with clients who ask you to start an e-learning project even before they are fully ready. They provide just the preliminary inputs and expect the project to start.

You will need to do a lot of work on these initial inputs, by coordinating with their SMEs and stakeholders. You have to find gaps in the information and follow up with the client to fill the same. These efforts can potentially delay the progress of the project. 

2. Quoting in a hurry without having complete knowledge of the project details

Estimates for the project are often prepared in a hurry, even before having a complete idea of the project scope. This leads to inaccurate estimates of budget.

Sometimes, the cost of the project is assessed on a hunch or estimated by unqualified and inexperienced professionals. These estimates will look fine in the early stages of the project but turn unrealistic in the later stages.

For instance, complex scenarios that need a lot of development time can be estimated inappropriately in the initial stages but when more hours are spent on this, there is a cost overrun. 

3. Poor planning 

The lack of proper planning with regard to estimating time leads to cost and time overruns. When the time to complete the project is estimated incorrectly, your resources will have to work overtime to meet deadlines, which will create cost overruns.

When time estimates are not accurate, they can negatively impact quality since quality becomes a casualty in the quest to complete the project on time.

On the flip side, lack of proper planning can lead to an extension of the project deadline.

Managing e-learning projects therefore, requires a well-disciplined approach and management skills. Learn more about project management by downloading our e-book Project Management for eLearning Course Development.

4. Wrong assumptions on part of both the client and the vendor 

The project scope document defines what the project is supposed to achieve and the responsibilities of each party in accomplishing the goals. It has to be signed by you and the client before you start the project.

This will prevent any incorrect assumptions on both sides.

Developing a prototype before starting the project will leave little room for assumptions. Receiving clarification on important points before the project begins will also prevent incorrect assumptions that can lead to cost and time extensions.

5. Change of stakeholder or internal teams

When there is a change of stakeholders or owner on the client’s side, expectations from the project also tend to alter. The new stakeholders/owner may want changes to the project. This can mean discarding the work already done and starting afresh.

Similarly, a change in internal teams on your side can lead to ineffective transfer of knowledge to the new team members; this means more time to settle into the project.

These changes on either side can lead to re-work, delays, and increased costs.

These are some reasons e-learning projects run into cost and time overruns. Knowing the reasons will help avoid such overruns. Communicate clearly with your clients right from the outset and ensure both of you are on the same page to ensure a smooth, fruitful partnership.

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