What time is it?
I'm often asked "how long will it take to do a kitchen?" The words "how long" really get everyone in trouble. Make people crazy, make them patient, impatient, anxious, all sorts of things. We want things done either a) fast or b) exactly when we want them done. There are those who understand that a kitchen can have a life of its own. Point being, TAKE CONTROL OF TIMING AT THE START OF THE PROCESS, not just before the construction process, but from the initial process.
Talk about timing a lot. With your architect, with your contractor, designer, and anyone else. Keep it in the forefront. Ask for updates (sorry, not every day) from the beginning to the end of the entire project. The client who stays in control and aware of timing will probably get their project done at the most productive (not necessarily fastest) pace possible. Communication is everything.
Set up timing goals from the start. Do you have events? School starting? Holidays? Project forward as much as you can and communicate your timing expectations .