“There are no mistakes, or failures, only lessons.” That’s a quote from Denis Waitley, who is an American motivational speaker and writer, consultant and best-selling author. Yes, it is really a very insightful quote and can do wonders at the individual level of one who is demotivated due to a failure.
But when you have a project classified as “failed”, this motivational quote will not work. Your customer (or the project sponsor) will not like to learn the “lessons”, but would want to see the “expected” results and the ROI.
When your project is in trouble or you really think that it is inevitable to call it a failure, you need to think of ways to deal with it – ways that are right.
Go Back to the Drawing Board
Failure is an effect; and to remove an effect it is best to address the root cause of it. If you find that your project is going for dumps, you should try to go back to your project plan, schedule and scope-creeps, and assess the gaps that may be causing the project to derail. Based on the issues identified, rework on the project scope and plan, and seek the project sponsor’s approval.
Once the project scope and schedule are reworked upon, you need to review the project schedule as well. Renew the deadlines wherever possible, but if for some modules you are unable to do so, you need work on getting your team’s trust and cooperation. Your team may have to put in extra man-hours, so they should be convinced that with the new schedule the team can tide over the crisis.
While this will depend a lot on the severity of the crisis that your project might be going through, it is a good bet to assess alternatives, such as how many extra resources are required and what are the cost implications. Your team may already be cooperating well by working overtime, but extra man-hours may not be the solution for all the issues. So, alternatives such as extra resources and budget are important to assess in order not to compromise the quality.
Another important tool is to streamline the communication within the project team members. You can introduce new mandates if required so that the team is more engaged and is continuously updated about the progress. A better engaged team will always bring better results.
These are the key things that can be done to salvage your otherwise dying project. What is your take? What else can be done to deal with a failing project?
Photo credit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/IPA-small-projects/prweb3939094.htm