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What to Do When You Inherit a Project Mess

At one point or another, you will probably inherit a project in the middle of its completion. Sometimes, the project may be a complete and utter mess. Then what? In an article for CIO.com, Brad Egeland lays out the steps to take to get the project back on track.

When you have inherited a mess of a project, there is a simple three-step process to getting the project back on track:

  1. Introduce yourself to the team.
  2. Introduce yourself to the client.
  3. Make adequate revision to the schedule.

It is important to meet the team as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours of taking over the project. Getting to know the team can help to highlight the problems of what went wrong and even allow for some time to brainstorm what should happen next.

Most likely, the project client will not welcome you with outstretched arms and will be hesitant in your takeover. You have just taken over a bad project; there will be tension. The key is to immediately start to turn things around and give them little wins to show that they should have faith in you and your management abilities. They do not want to see their capital wasted. They may not give you much to work with, but they expect progress, so show them exactly that.

After talking with both the team and the client, you now probably have a good idea about what the project needs and the direction to take, so develop a schedule. Take the steps to get the schedule out to the right people and get moving immediately. Additionally incorporate some sort of regular meeting to keep in the loop about the project’s status.

All of this needs to happen within the first few days or the project may find a new leader. You can read the original article here: http://www.cio.com/article/2991496/project-management/what-to-do-when-you-inherit-a-project-mess.html

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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