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
Enter the second letter of the word horse.
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.

Critical Path Mapping

Critical path method words on digital screen with world map

The activity network diagram is a method of displaying the timelines of all the various sub-tasks that are involved in any project. So how do you create one?

Is Project Management Certification Worth It?

University students in a classroom watching a presentation

Do recognised professional credentials increase your worth in the jobs market? Will the effort of studying to pass the exam improve your career prospects?

Top 10 Steps to Successful Goals

Businessman sprinter winning a track race

Help avoid the great 'Rinse and Repeat Trap' by following these 10 steps to setting successful goals. You may have to work for it, however!

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

Lesiba Matlou commented on…
Writing a Funding Proposal
- Sun 26 January 5:18am

Tim Rumbaugh commented on…
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
- Sat 28 December 6:48pm

Alex commented on…
RAID Log
- Mon 16 December 3:19pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Project Management in Gaming Companies? https://t.co/II2PGIFImV about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Roll-Up Project Tracking Tool https://t.co/mYvyHFB5m2 about 4 days ago

General Project Management • Rolling Multiple Project Trackers into One tracker https://t.co/zvUDUqEEJ8 about 11 days ago