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What Would You Do If Your Project Is Failing?

If you were stranded on a desert island of IT and could only bring one project management insight, what would it be? Steve Liliopolous of PM Hut would bring the project management failsafe.  What is the PM failsafe you ask? The failsafe is what the PM can do to halt a project from growing out of proportion, from gobbling up extra funds and time until it drags down the whole organization. A remarkable 70% of all projects fall under this category for one reason or another.

Plan A: Seek Prevention

Reasons for project failure include: projects not supporting an organizational strategy, success factors not defined at an early stage, lack of effective leadership / governance, missing communication with stakeholders, assumptions untested, inaccurate mental models for decision making used, etc. In other words, the wayward PM would never be stranded on the IT desert island to begin with if he / she had sought prevention as the first line of defense. Prevention comes in the form of setting expectation straight from the beginning, of understanding desired business outcomes, and of getting all available resources on paper at square one. If this fails to control a project’s scope, there are several reliable failsafes.

Plan B: Administer the Failsafe

  • Admit Reality
  • Refocus the Scope
  • Determine Costs
  • Remediate
  • Start Anew
  • Review Past Mistakes
  • Use Legality

Come forth with the truth to stakeholders. Present alternatives that take into account the appropriate scope that reflects the budgetary and technical reality of the project. Pin down the costs of both previous and prospective activities to determine where you stand financially. If necessary, introduce a third party to remedy some of the damages. If you’re lucky, there may be time to start the entire project with a clean slate. In that case, you can apply important lessons and project wisdom this time around. Finally, and as a last resort, you may need to get legal as a way to recoup the vanished project costs.

Read the original post at: http://www.pmhut.com/what-would-you-do-if-your-project-is-failing 

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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