All projects that finish late have this one thing in common: they started late.
1. Nobody had the guts to kick off the project until the competition proved it doable and desirable; by then, the project was in catch-up mode and had to be finished lickety-split.
2. If the project were started long enough before its due date to finish on time, all involved would have had to face up to the fact from the beginning that it was going to cost a lot more than anyone was willing to pay.
3. No one knew that the project needed to be done until the window of opportunity was already closing.