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How to Stop Bad Momentum When Projects Start to Go Wrong

Stop Bad Momentum

Can you tell when a project is just starting to go south? Chances are you can’t—but even if you can, here’s a more important question: how can you stop a project that has bad momentum?

Bad momentum (at least in this article shared on is when a team is starting to do the wrong things on a project but are moving in such a way that they either don’t see it, or don’t know how to fix it.

It takes a few things to make this happen—and a few things to help stop it from happening. As the article shares, there are some lessons to be drawn from firefighting in this—as when things start to go wrong when fighting a fire, they go very wrong. Because of this, firefighters often have techniques and mindsets which allow them to quickly change course in what they are doing to regain positive momentum.

The Normal Mistakes

The article shares some of the mistakes that happen in projects, such as being action oriented (which can lead to ignoring preliminary evaluations), inflexible planning, and the ripple effect:

“The interdependencies of an organization’s components often mean that small changes in one part of the system can affect multiple other parts,” the authors [of “Learning to Stop Momentum”] write. If executives operate under the assumption that small changes will remain small, they may be surprised at how large–and quickly–the drama spreads.

Another problem comes from rationalization and perceived expertise: employees and managers will ignore warning signs through rationalization, or they will not correct mistakes they see because they assume someone higher up than themselves will see the same problem and take care of it themselves (or that they themselves are not authorized to make the change).

The article then goes on to share the importance of situated humility and a culture that encourages interruptions. Read the whole article here:

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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