"IT Now" (BCS) Jan 08 edition has an interesting feature by Dr Graham Oakes, "Earthquakes in the project portfolio". The article is a case study of the gaming industry and the steps taken to reduce delays in delivering games to market. A team was set up to look at the reasons for delays and identified a pattern. They came up with the idea of producing regular progress reports for management, ranking current projects by risk and working openly with project teams to share and improve the information. This encouraged a culture where status was monitored more closely and resulted in clearer milestones. There were of course some challenges to overcome - e.g. the team reviewing progress needed support so a mentoring system was put in place. Oakes concludes with "Projects can only succeed where they deal with reality. Reflection, dialogue and independent review are key tools for helping our projects keep in touch with reality".
Interestingly, the same issue also has an article by Marcus Price (Making projects fly) on techniques used by the Heathrow T5 project to avoid delays and overspending: prototyping; lean principles; iterative and agile techniques.