IT Best Practices

Five Steps to Fixing a Broken IT Project

If the Project is Broken, Fix it!

You know your project is broken: stakeholders are angry at what they’re getting back, your team is consistently slipping on scope and timeframe, and your peers aren’t able to give you the resources or help that you need in order to keep up with the ever-growing pressure of the work. In short, you need a miracle to get this project off the ground and back to where it should be.

Five Steps to Fix

But then again, maybe it isn’t a miracle you need—maybe it’s just a tried-and-true method for getting a broken project fixed. In this article by Mark J. Schiller, just five steps are provided in order to fix a project:

  1. Fight
  2. Connect
  3. Remind
  4. Listen
  5. Close the gap

Fighting is when you gather up vendors or stakeholders and you forcefully (not rudely!) explain your points and positions. It forces the stakeholders to evaluate what they think is wrong and pushes them to explain it clearly. This has two purposes: to show that you’re not a pushover, and you’re also creating an environment with your stakeholder wherein both of you are allowed to disagree with each other.

The next step is to connect:

Do an off-site team building activity. It doesn't matter what it is. And before you get into working on the nitty-gritty details of the project, go out for dinner, grab a drink or two, or enjoy a round of golf at a fine resort. There's only one rule to this outing: No one talks business! If one of your colleagues tries to bring up a business conversation, politely inform them, “We'll talk about that in the morning. Let's just be colleagues and people tonight.”

What are you accomplishing here? You are creating a space where you can talk to each other on a personal level. You are reminding everyone that you're just a couple of human beings trying to get through this drama together.

The third and fourth steps go hand in hand (remind and listen), as they both put an emphasis on re-establishing a working, communicative relationship and on making sure concerns and issues are brought up in a positive manner. The final step (closing the gap) is all about recognizing what is holding both you and the stakeholders back from getting the project back on track, and then overcoming those challenges.

Read the full article here for more information on saving a failing project:

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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