Project recovery

Projects start with the best of intentions. Business Case, planning, design, development, testing, deployment, handover to support. What could go wrong?

Business priorities change. Scope changes. Things take longer than anticipated. Things don’t work out as planned. The benefits case is being eroded. Morale on the team drops. Often, a fresh perspective and an injection of new blood can help refocus a struggling project. Our consultants can quickly assess the health of a project and what it might take to get things back on track.

How we do it

Our guidelines

  1. What’s the goal?

    Losing sight of the real goal of the project can cause lack of focus, with effort being diverted from critical deliverables. Reviewing every element of the project against the goal can bring clarity as to what needs to change.

  2. What’s stopping progress?

    There are quite often multiple issues which impede progress. Fixing one without understanding the full extent of all the underlying issues can prove to be futile. Exposing all issues enables a coordinated recovery.

  3. What do we fix first?

    Reviewing the project goals and the things that are stopping the project being successful in conjunction with each other enables all the recovery activities to be prioritised. Quick wins can be started immediately.

  4. What is the outcome?

    Most often, project recovery produces a re-baselined plan, a review of governance, communication and reporting, and a team re-focused on delivering the project goals.

How we do it

Facing the challenge

Often the last people to know that a large project is in trouble are senior management. Amongst the reasons for this are project team members remaining overly optimistic when trouble strikes, project managers reporting what they think their managers want to hear and senior managers not close enough to the detail to understand the gravity of the situation. An independent assessment enables a root, and branch review and identification of all the things which are not as they should be. Most projects can be recovered to some extent and this will require some detailed re-planning, commitment throughout the organisation and a determination to carry on. There is one thing worse than a project failure and that is a project which fails a second time.

Facing the challenge
How we do it

Recovering a project

Our consultants conduct a structured review of the entire project landscape, starting with project requirements – are they clearly defined, agreed, realistic? Is there the right degree of commitment at an executive level? How well is the project set up to achieve the requirements? The next area for assessment is the people – is the mix of skills and experience on the team sufficient to deliver the project? Then the deadlines are assessed – are they achievable? Can anything be de-prioritised or removed from scope? Then the risks, issues assumptions and dependencies are reviewed – is everything captured? Is everything under control? Is there anything which indicates the project is beyond recovery? Finally, the plan is re-baselined, taking into account any changes in scope, resources, deadlines and priorities.

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