While there are certainly projects that fail catastrophically and without any “big” indicators, there are perhaps more projects that quietly begin to turn south without anyone particularly noticing. A small miscommunication here, a forgotten requirement there, and eventually you’re left to wade through the tiny, circumstantial mistakes that led to a complete failure. Glen Alleman begins this post by explaining how the first to go under the bus is the program management tool. He makes the point, however, that the tool is only built to make program management more efficient, not to make it more successful. In the end it comes down to how it’s used and the intelligence of the people working on the program itself. So how can you avoid the problems that stem from a thousand small cuts? To put it simply: bi-directional information, planning, and accountability. First you must identify where the information you need is coming from, and how to best gather and understand that data. Next, your entire organization must create, maintain, and understand a recovery plan that isn’t based on a guide but more so on what works best in your team. Add to this an identification of who needs to complete what responsibilities during a recovery process (both for the sake of knowing what they need to do, and also for other team members to identify who should be contacted in case of a recovery). If you can complete those three, among others listed by Alleman, the challenge becomes keeping the project “green”: The challenge them becomes how to KEEP THE PROGRAM GREEN. Again Process is King. Know working management processes are available for any program or project domain. If the processes are not applied correctly, consistently, thoroughly, and credibly, then the project or program will be back in the ditch soon.