Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Getting Out of The Rework Trap

~ By Kenneth Darter

A road sign warning more of the same ahead

At some point in a project, the project manager may find the team stuck in a rework trap. This might occur when defining requirements or it might occur when the project is being executed. Instead of moving forward, the project team is stuck working on something and then reworking it over and over again. There are many causes, such as ill defined requirements or scope creep or a client who does not really know what they want or need. The project manager must approach this trap carefully in order to free the team and move forward.

Step 1: Recognition

Before anything can be done about the rework trap, the project manager must be able to recognise that the team is trapped. Any project will have some amount of rework in it, but when the baseline dates are constantly being changed or work is getting backed up beyond any tolerance level, the project manager should determine if the team is stuck in a trap of reworking the project to death.

Step 2: Evaluate

The next step to getting out of the trap is to evaluate what happened. Determining the cause of the rework is key in being able to move forward. The project team will provide insight to what is going on, but sometimes it can be more helpful to get a perspective from outside the project. The project team may be too close to what is going on to be able to provide an objective opinion. After all, almost no one will voluntarily perform rework just because they think it is fun; they most likely truly believe that the rework is valid and necessary for the project. It is up to the project manager to make sure they understand that they are stuck in a trap and something needs to change in order for the project to move forward.

Step 3: Solution

Now it is time for the project manager to provide a solution to the rework trap. Perhaps the entire schedule needs to be evaluated and rebaselined, or perhaps the requirements need to be pared down instead of constantly being expanded. Whatever solution the project manager comes up with should force the project to start moving forward instead of remaining stuck in the rework trap. This solution needs to be communicated to the team and help make sure that no one gets stuck in the trap again during the rest of the project.

Step 4: Learn From It

Learning from what happened during the project is a primary skill for any project manager and any project. Understanding what happened, why it happened, and what might have been done to prevent it will benefit the project manager and the project team on the rest of the current project, but also on future projects down the road.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Type the word for the number 5.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Top Three Causes of Project Failure

Businessman in a black suit holding up a white sign reading failed

The top three causes of project failure, which if addressed will greatly increase the chances of project success.

Work Breakdown Structure 101

Hierarchy icons on a white background

Work Breakdown Structure is a tool project managers use to break projects down into manageable pieces. Here's why you need one and how to create your own.

How to Avoid Project Burnout

Exhausted businessman resting on a pile of paperwork with tongue hanging out from overwork

Resources on projects can be susceptible to burning out before the project finishes. Here are a few ideas to prevent burnout in project teams.

Capturing Those Lessons Learned

Project team reviewing lessons learned

Do you capture your lessons learned? If you do, how effectively do you capture them?

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Paula commented on…
How to Deal with the People Factor of Change Management
- Thu 16 May 2:52am

Billy Rane commented on…
6 Success Factors for Managing Project Quality
- Tue 14 May 4:30am

Duncan Haughey commented on…
When is a Project Manager not a Project Manager
- Fri 10 May 3:10pm

Latest tweets

In his short, but insightful article, A Thought-Provoking Idea on the Dangers of 'Nouns', Vishen Lakhiani looks at… https://t.co/PZ7MgdRqzw about 2 hours ago

General Project Management • Some advice on software https://t.co/VX5cy3IdLb about 5 days ago

General Project Management • Advice for Best Complimentary Qualification https://t.co/djava71tDD about 7 days ago