10 considerations to fix failures

Some distressed projects are so strategic and important they simply can't be allowed to fail. Here are ideas to consider when pulling these special initiatives out of the flames.

Phoenix rising from the flames

Some distressed projects are so strategic and important they simply can't be allowed to fail. Here are ideas to consider when pulling these special initiatives out of the flames.

The Making Things Happen blog offers a starting point for recovering a failing project. The list isn't a comprehensive reset methodology, but raises good points:

  1. Confirm the project sponsors and stakeholders
  2. Clarify roles and responsibilities
  3. Validate the project objectives
  4. Validate the project’s priorities and risks
  5. Determine mechanisms for escalating questions, concerns, and problems and how they are functioning
  6. Determining whether you have the right resources available; both people and funding sources needed
  7. Assessing whether you have the right documentation, records, requirements info, etc
  8. Is there an updated project plan?
  9. Is there an updated action log, with owners dates that are getting closed out?
  10. Do project meetings happen when needed? Are the right people in attendance?

When trying to save a strategic project that's gone down the tubes, the key concept is "reset." Be prepared to restart the project with a fresh perspective, evaluating budgets, time, goals, and assumptions based on a realistic assessment of the current state.

Project recovery can involve acknowledging painful truths. However, handled tactfully and with mutual respect, recovery can be a unifying experience that trains a team to work together and achieve success under the most difficult circumstances.

[Via Timothy Johnson's project management blog Carpe Factum. Image via Phoenix Flames blog.]

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