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When to Revive the Team That Failed

One of the most common themes in entrepreneurship is that you have to brave failures in order to reap the greatest success. Yet when a project team fails, we are so quick to dissolve it. This is a short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction that Art Petty hopes to correct in a post at PM Hut.

Rise, Phoenix!

Some big factors of team success include a guiding purpose, clear membership, enabling structures, and leadership. Petty believes in his experience that teams who fail are often the ones who were tasked with attempting something that the business had not done before. In such cases, teams deserve more times to learn the intricacies of the project. For leaders who are looking to determine if it is worth it to make a stand for their teams, Petty provides five signs:

  1. An absence of finger-pointing and excuse-making
  2. Genuine group and authentic distress at the failure
  3. An emerging Apollo 13 mentality: “Failure is not an option.”
  4. External validation that the initiative is (still) highly relevant
  5. A hunger for insights and knowledge from outside the team

If nobody is blaming each other for the team failure, then that is an extremely positive sign that the team can work maturely together. Similarly, if the team members are experiencing genuine regret and disappointment, that at least shows that their hearts were in the right place. This can give way to a higher degree of determination for success in the future, even if that means searching for help and information outside of the team. And about external validation for the continuing relevancy of an initiative, Petty says:

There’s a tendency for firms and teams to irrationally pursue failed objectives. Avoiding this sunk cost/escalation of commitment trap is difficult and important. The assumptions of and need for the project from an external customer or market perspective must still be valid before offering more time to the failed team.

You can read the original post here: http://www.pmhut.com/what-do-you-do-with-a-team-that-has-failed

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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