Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

The Four Stages of Recovering a Project

~ By Kenneth Darter

Road sign reading Road to Recovery

If a project is in trouble, the project manager needs to work to recover it and get the schedule back on track. Hopefully, it's not too late to still meet the project deadlines and goals.

Performing a project recovery is not a fun or easy task, but setting out a simple track to follow will help the project manager recover the project. And it always feels good to save the day on a project.

Working through these four steps will help the project manager facilitate the recovery.

1. Identification

The first step is to identify the problem. You cannot even consider trying to recover a project that is in trouble if you don't know what the problem is in the first place.

While it might seem like a simple enough issue to diagnose, there can be difficulties in determining the exact root cause putting the project at risk in the first place. Perhaps the requirements were not defined well enough, or perhaps the schedule dictated by the customer was too aggressive.

Interviews with the project team and a careful analysis of the situation will help you identify the problem and move forward. But make sure to determine the cause of the problem.

Just putting a band aid on the symptoms will not help at this point.

2. Discussion

Once you have identified the problem, it's time to discuss it with the appropriate parties and determine the course of action that will recover the project.

This may not be an easy discussion if the people you're discussing it with are part of the problem!  It's important, though, to have a candid conversation and keep the discussion focused on the problem, not the person.

The facilitator should have all of the information at hand and be able to tell the story of why the project is in trouble. This discussion should lead to a solution that will steer the project back to meeting its goals.

3. Implementation

After all of the discussion and analysis, it's time to implement the solution that will recover the project.

The solution might involve changing the schedule baseline, updating the project scope or even making a change in the project team. The solution should be well-documented and communicated to all parties that will be involved in the recovery of the project.

All of the steps to recovery should be carefully outlined and detailed. There should be no questions about what needs to be done and when it must happen in order to put the project back on track.

This part of the recovery process should be well-thought-out and approved by management and the client. That way, the recovery can proceed without further delay or issues.

4. Re-baseline

Once the recovery of the project is proceeding, the project manager and the project schedule should reflect what is happening to recover the project.

Everything that happens in the recovery must become part of the project scope and schedule. Moving forward, the tasks of the recovery become incorporated into the project work. The re-baseline of the schedule should take into account the recovery tasks and the change in dates going forward after the recovery.

This is an excellent time to re-evaluate the entire project and determine if anything needs to be updated or changed so that the project not only proceeds, but also succeeds.

Summary

When recovering a project that's in trouble, identify the problem, determine how to recover, implement your solution and re-baseline the schedule. Set a simple track with these four steps.

Recovering a project is never easy or fun, but with some care and attention, it's possible to turn it around.

After all, it's never bad to be the person that saved the day.


Advertisement


Comments (1)

Topic: The Four Stages of Recovering a Project
5/5 (1)
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
10th November 2014 9:29am
Casey Sauders says...
The second step is where people almost always get stuck. Sometimes, it's hard to establish a strategy, or to choose the best solution for a problem, because communication is not how it's supposed to be. Discussions are very important, but it's equally important to come to a conclusion that satisfies all parties involved.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
What is the second month of the year?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

A Tale of Two Projects

Two serious businessmen working with a tablet computer

A business tale of what it takes to turn around troubled projects. How did PintCo recover their Customer Master File project when everything was going in the wrong direction.

Rolling Wave Planning

Blue rolling wave

What is rolling wave planning and how does it affect the critical chain? This article by John Goodpasture provides a detailed explanation.

Belbin and Successful Project Teams

Business team brainstorming using coloured labels on an office table

Creating successful project teams is a daunting task for project leaders. A good method for matching people to roles is the Belbin Team Inventory Method (BTIM).

A Brief History of SMART Goals

Set your goals written on blue paper

In this history of SMART goals, I look at where the acronym came from, who developed it, what the critics say and why it has become popular.

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

Ashwini Pendharkar commented on…
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
- Tue 20 June 1:32pm

Tery commented on…
A Brief History of SMART Goals
- Mon 19 June 10:10pm

Tammy Marin commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Thu 15 June 10:37pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Is complete transparency with the project customer a good… https://t.co/Jcqxcrq49P #projectsmart #pmot about 10 days ago

General Project Management • Re: What are your PM best practices? I think we often miss 5 keys… https://t.co/bMHcYqOauf #projectsmart #pmot about 14 days ago

General Project Management • Re: I Got It Wrong https://t.co/uIy2Yv8owO #projectsmart #pmot about 21 days ago