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Rescue the Problem Project : A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure
Back from the brink--the first fail-safe recovery plan for turning around troubled projects.
When budgets are dwindling, deadlines passing, and tempers flaring, the usual response is to browbeat the project team and point fingers of blame. Not helpful. For these situations, what is needed is an objective process for accurately assessing what is wrong and a clear plan of action for fixing the problem.
Rescue the Problem Project provides project managers, executives, and customers with the answers they require. Turnaround specialist Todd Williams has worked with dozens of companies in multiple industries resuscitating failing projects. In this new book, he reveals an in-depth, start-to-finish process that includes:
Techniques for identifying the root causes of the trouble * Steps for putting projects back on track--audit the project, analyze the data, negotiate the solution, and execute the new plan * Nearly 70 real-world examples of what works, what doesn't, and why * Guidelines for avoiding problems in subsequent projects
Many books explain how to run a project, but only this one shows how to bring it back from the brink of disaster. And with 65% of projects failing to meet goals and 25% cancelled outright, that's essential information!
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March 01, 2011
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Excerpt from Rescue the Problem Project by Todd C. Williams
The Recovery Process
Rescue the Problem Project is for anyone trying to find the missing link in managing a project, regardless of whether it is in trouble. The project manager, customer,project sponsor, executive management, steering committee member, or individual contributor all have something to learn here. Although this book teaches how to recover a failing project, failure's harsh lessons bring knowledge. The book is full of lessons to keep a project on track. The focus is to show what to do for a project that has gotten into serious trouble; trouble that is at the point of impasse where the team cannot come to consensus on the issues facing it. At this stage of the project, everyone is defensive; finger pointing and laying blame is the norm. The project has stalled.
These lessons teach a number of techniques to become a better manager and transform you into a leader. When recovering a project, solid teams are required. With red projects, teams are often beat up and demoralized. Therefore, the recovery manager must allocate a significant amount of time for rebuilding the team and regaining the respect of its members.
As outlined in Chapter 1, and discussed in detail in each section, this book will lead you through a series of steps that make up the recovery process once there is a realization of a problem. These steps are:
0. Realization of a problem: Management must realize there is a problem to solve before the process can be established.
1. Audit the project: Objectively determine the problems on the project.
2. Analyze the data: Determine the root causes for the problems and develop a solution.
3. Negotiate the solution: Meditate an acceptable solution between the supplier and customer.
4. Execute the new plan: Implement the corrective actions to the problems, and run the project.
Critical to success is management's realization that a problem exists. This is step zero in the process (see Figure 1-2 on pg. 9). It is a prerequisite to all other steps. It enables you to build the outline of any process. For example, before planning a trip to the grocery store, you must realize that you need food. Then, you can plan the steps of the trip. Without this step, the problems and subsequent corrective action plan lack upper management's endorsement, and the recovery will fail from a lack of its support. Chapter 2 discusses this.
It is worth pointing out the four integrally numbered steps of this process are a negotiation process:
Audit the project - Acquire data about the subject. Determine the customer's goals based on what is truly valuable in the product--the items critical to quality. Analyze the data - Determine the options to meet the request. Look at the data accrued and determine the options available to solve the problems. Highlight the proposed solution's advantages.
Negotiate the solution - Propose the options. Barter around the recommended solution to address concerns voiced by the customer and management. Achieve the highest value for all stakeholders. Execute the new plan - Close the deal. Document and implement the agreed on solution.
Chapter 14, which focuses on the negotiation process' proposal and bartering step, discusses these. That being said, this book only covers the aspects of negotiation relevant to project recovery. You should spend some time with a good book on negotiation. Recommended Reading lists two such books.