Projects fail when quality, scope, budget, or schedule do not meet expectations. Often this occurs for a variety of reasons and critical to an effective “recovery” of any project is the quick identification of the project’s shortcomings followed by a clearly defined turnaround plan to get the project back on track.
Major signs of a failing project include:
- The project is trending over its estimated budget
- The project is trending over its estimated deadline
- The project appears within budget and schedule, but quality is compromised and value of the deliverable is called into question
- Client dissatisfied with performance and integrity of the project team
- Client – project team relationship is dysfunctional
Examples of why a project fails:
- Lack of senior management support
- Lack of project leadership and proven methodologies
- Poor up-front estimate
- Inexperienced or poor performing team
- Ad hoc requirements management
- Ambiguous and imprecise communication
- Brittle architectures
- Overwhelming complexity
- Undetected inconsistencies in requirements, designs and implementations
- Insufficient testing
- Subjective project status assessment
- Failure to address risks
- Weak scope change management
Our service offering provides senior project recovery specialists skilled at “rescuing” projects that are failing or on a path to failure. Turning around a failing project is never easy but our proven framework has been successful. Our senior project recovery specialists can apply the same methodology to optimize your projects before your start the project to ensure an effective and efficient delivery.
Whether the project is in-flight or just getting started our team offers mentor-ship to identify, define and implement any project by:
- Assess project scope, schedule, support, risks, and issues
- Validation the project is on the path towards failure
- Root cause analysis to identify factors that contribute to the failure of projects
- Assess project resources, project management methodologies and development processes
- Develop mitigation strategies to better utilize people, processes, and tools
- Coaching and oversight through the planning to implementation
Our high-level project review methodology
Step 1: Audit the project. The primary aim of this step is to review all the project documentation to determine the current status. All the relevant stakeholders should be interviewed to obtain their understanding in terms of expectations, issues, and risks. The majority of the problems should be identified through the audit process.
Step 2: Analysis of the problems. Analyze every identified problem on the project. Identify the burning platforms. Also ensure that the basics are put in place, such as redefining or confirming the scope of the project. Identify the real schedule and cost drivers. Suspend or eliminate deliverables in the scope that are not immediate requirements for achieving the project objectives and re-prioritize as soon as possible after the project is implemented. Draw up a new project plan aimed specifically at the recovery effort. Be realistic in terms of what is achievable with the current funds and resources.
Step 3: Negotiate Turnaround Plan. Negotiate the recommended actions with the executives. The executives’ support is critical to implementing the recovery plan. Present the turnaround plan to them, substantiate each and every action in the plan, and negotiate where possible. This negotiation will also create new expectations and ownership from the stakeholders and ensure that the new baselines will be the ones that measurement is made against.
Step 4: Implement Turnaround Plan. Follow a sound project management methodology. Control the project by means of the performance measurement baseline and manage issues actively. Make sure communication channels are open to the stakeholders, keeping them informed is a critical success factor for continued support; otherwise, they might get easily disillusioned. A key to project success is ensuring project leadership continues throughout the project. Escalate major issues to ensure that the steering committee also takes ownership in the project. Enforce discipline — this is no time to relax! Celebrate each and every achievement, because this will motivate the team.