Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Resurrecting the Failed Project - Part 2

~ By Brad Egeland

A green road sign reading: Second Chance

In Part 1 of this two part series I began to discuss the concept of getting a second chance on a failed project from a client gracious enough to come back to your organisation to give their project another try after already experiencing a failure or complete work stoppage. It doesn't happen often, so you have to make sure you make the most of that second chance. I have done this twice and generally used a set of four major steps to get restarted. In Part 1, I covered the first of those steps…the customer introduction and knowledge transfer. Here are my remaining three steps:

New Team Assembly and Knowledge Transfer

My team was completely new to the project - as was I - so we had lots to discuss and lots of knowledge transfer that needed to take place. First, I offloaded everything I had received from the customer to my new team and gave them a few days to familiarise themselves with the materials. I then brought them back together to discuss the project, necessary action items, and key dates, tasks, and milestones that we all thought needed to be built into the revised project schedule. I had to make sure we were all on the same page because as we started to meet regularly with the customer we knew that everything - and I mean everything - we did had to give the customer confidence…not any causes for concern. Preparation was very important.

Project Schedule Revision

I abandoned the idea of just adding on to the old schedule. It was a mess for both projects I was resurrecting and what was done was done. Some things had actually been accomplished and paid for so those were complete. What I cared about and wanted my team and the customers to focus on was what we had ahead of us. So that's what I built into the schedule…the tasks that lay before us. I then took that to the team and eventually to the customer to get some feedback from both sides as I worked it into a final version that we could move forward with.

Modified Project Kick-off

Finally, we had a modified project kick-off meeting. Nothing big, nothing very formal. But it was a chance for us to once again discuss next steps, assumptions, risks, issues and lessons learned, and to review the project schedule so we all left on the same page and ready for the next phases and the next deliverables we would be focused on.

This step is critical…because while it's not a formal kick-off meeting you have to remember you're dealing with an organisation that somehow decided to give your organisation a second chance. That's big. It can't be taken lightly. So, just like a formal kick-off meeting, this is your chance as the project manager to really instil confidence in the team and the customer and get the project re-kicked off on a high note. I guarantee you there won't be a third chance.

Summary

How about our readers? Have any of you been called upon to resurrect a failed project? If so, what steps did you go through to connect with the customer, get the proper knowledge transfer and get your team ready to kick-off this new/old project once again? And, if you're feeling really bold, maybe you can tell us how it turned out. Personally, I went 1 for 2. One project just wasn't meant to be I guess. It wasn't due to failure from me or my team and our customer realised it. It was a difficult implementation and our solution wasn't ever able to match up to our customer's true need and their data needs in their environment. We tried…and we got very close, but one was unsuccessful. Thankfully, though, the other did roll out successfully and that client came back to our organisation for future project needs.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
1500
Is ice cream hot or cold?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

My Story: Working Smarter; Not Harder

Woman thinking with a light bulb drawn on a blackboard

When you realise that you have the power to change your beliefs and remove a limiting factor that has been constraining you, you have an AHA! moment.

How to Deliver Project Status

Close-up of a businessman's hand with a gilded pen writing a document

This article recommendations how to deliver project status to management and the project team that you will hopefully find to be very effective.

Break Your PMP Studies Into Small Pieces

A mature student concentrating on her studies

Taking the PMP exam is one of the biggest steps you'll take in your career as a Project Manager. With careful planning you can pass with a minimum of stress.

Learning from Project Failures

Success and failure directional signs

Some of the most important lessons we learn come from failures. Kenneth Darter explains a simple four step process to make sure the same failures aren't repeated.

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

Samara Grantham commented on…
12 Tips for Being a Good Manager
- Thu 1 December 2:46pm

Adolfina commented on…
Introduction to Project Management
- Mon 21 November 9:52am

Edward Brown commented on…
Project Status Reports Everyone Can Understand
- Wed 16 November 3:38pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Prioritising Change Requests https://t.co/hZ2PBgxtLN #projectsmart #pmot about 6 hours ago

General Project Management • Re: Project Resource Challenges https://t.co/ITT5p6Pnje #projectsmart #pmot about 6 hours ago

General Project Management • Re: Project Resource Challenges https://t.co/P5EYYQRLNE #projectsmart #pmot about 1 day ago