Project Management – When Projects Go wrong
It doesn’t matter how good our project plan is, how great the project team is, projects just go wrong. It is often times how you deal with the project when it gets off course that can determine the overall success of the project. I have listed a few steps you should take when your project gets off course that will help you steer it in the right direction.
- Remain Calm – Often times people panic when things start to go wrong and it can be contagious. Typically the project manager will use their temper to try and get things done. This is usually a short-term solution and doesn’t build relationships or encourage a positive working environment. The project manager should step back and try to understand all of the facts of the situation. Once a situation is fully understood, the impact to the project is often not as bad as initially thought. This alone tends to calm the project team down.
- Evaluate Situation – Project manager should find out the real facts of the situation and determine how far off track they really are. If there has been a delay, how long. If there is a misunderstanding, find out further the details and where the discrepancy is. If you are off budget, by how much and why? Often times when projects get off-track there is a lot of emotion involved and things are not nearly as bad as they seem.
- Meet with Project Sponsor – At this point the project manager knows the severity of the set back. The project sponsor should be made aware of the situation and expectations can be altered. The project sponsor should determine if it is ok if the project is delayed by a day, or if the budget is off by 5% it is ok.
- Edit Project Plan – Review the project plan to see if there are areas you can make the time back or recoup some of the loss. Review your team member’s tasks and see if there is a better way to utilize their time. Look at the tasks and their dependencies to see if they can be moved into a more logical order.
- Meet With Team – It is important that you meet with the team to lay out the new project plan. This will serve two functions. First, you want to brainstorm with the team to ensure the new project plan is as efficient as possible. Second, you want the team to get a sense of calm and understand that things are under control and we are a team moving forward.
- Communication – As the project progresses, it is important to keep everyone informed on the progress. This will keep everyone focused and motivated to achieve the objectives.