Cost of Delay: Definition, Types and Tips for Calculating

Cost of Delay: An Introduction

Why is the cost of delay important?

The insight it provides decision-makers is what makes the cost of delay important. You can prioritize cost in decision-making processes by knowing the cost of delay for a particular project. It would be best to complete project B first because it has a greater economic impact if you have two projects to deliver in two weeks and the profits you’ll lose by delaying projects A and B for an extra week are $25,000 and $52,500, respectively.

After examining the effects of other crucial variables, this choice may be the best if your manager is profit-driven. The project’s value to the developer and the end user, as well as its urgency, are taken into account by CoD. You can calculate the cost of a delay for any type of project by combining value and urgency.

What is the cost of delay?

Cost of Delay (CoD) is a crucial metric in lean management that needs to be carefully monitored. CoD assists profit-driven businesses in minimizing liabilities to the greatest extent possible. CoD, to put it simply, is the overall financial effect of a delay on a project’s or product’s market success. It aids in assessing and estimating the influence of time on an anticipated result.

Any project’s cost of delay can be calculated using simple procedures. This enables you to see how a product’s development time, including any time it spends awaiting approval, in the backlog, or undergoing logistic testing, may have an impact on a business. The following ideas help us understand the cost of delay:

How to calculate the cost of delay

Value and urgency are stressed as the main considerations in the cost of delay calculations. The cost of labor and the market value of the good or feature are additional important factors to take into account when calculating the cost of a delay.

Calculating the CD3 value of each project is the best way to choose the best action plan. CD3 is the Cost of Delay divided by project duration. Heres how you calculate:

The previous calculations for Projects A and B and their combined CD3 are shown in the following table:


Estimated Weekly Profit

Duration for Completion (Weeks)

CD3 ($)




25,000/2 = 12,500




52,500/3 = 17,500




Since project B’s CD3 is higher according to the calculations, it requires higher priority in the production line. The general rule is that projects are prioritized according to their economic impact or return on investment (ROI).

Types of cost of delay

There are four different costs of delay:

Fixed date cost of delay

When a deadline is reached, the cost of the delay remains constant and significantly increases. This indicates that the cost of delay is initially low but increases exponentially over time before decreasing again to a minimal level. For instance, if a strict deadline is set for the launch of a product internationally, the longer your team takes to release the product, the more loss the company may incur.

Standard cost of delay

Similar to the aforementioned example, the longer it takes your IT team to restore the functionality of your company website, This could result in higher delay costs for the team. The cost can be easier to calculate because it increases linearly over time.

Intangible cost of delay

In this case, CoD is negligible, indicating that a delay will have little to no effect on the project. Intangible CoD typically applies to tasks with low priority because of their negligible effects, such as updating your web app’s user interface. This could have a negligible impact on the app’s transaction rate, which could result in little to no risk of project delay. Such initiatives are low priority and have little financial bearing on business operations.

Urgent cost of delay

CoD for this type of project is very high. This means that the project must be finished as soon as possible because even a small delay can significantly reduce returns or result in enormous losses. The cost of a delay could be very high from the project’s start date until it is completed.

Tips to help minimize cost of delay

The following advice can help you lessen CoD and, consequently, the effect it has on your project or business:


What are the 3 components of cost of delay?

The profit lost per month of delay is a straightforward formula for calculating the cost of delay. Total COD = Lost Month Cost + Peak Reduction Cost. Understanding the behavior of the product life-cycle and the effects of launching late on total profit are necessary for calculating the cost of delay.

What is cost of delay in Agile?

User business value, time criticality, and cost of delay divided by duration, also known as CD3, are the three main elements of cost of delay. These parameters serve as the starting point for determining the cost of delay’s impact and how to prioritize different features based on full management scenarios.

What is cost of delay in Kanban?

Cost of delay (CoD) is a prioritization framework that aids a company in calculating the financial benefits of finishing a project sooner rather than later.

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