Back on Track: 4 Steps to Project Recovery

December 8, 2022

Recently, it was estimated that 36% of business projects fail. Trillions of dollars are invested into projects every year, so that’s a lot of money being wasted. Most projects run into trouble towards the end of the project and it becomes challenging to right the ship. When it’s realized that a project is going off track, how do you recover it? Read on to learn the important steps for project recovery!

Back on Track: 4 Steps to Project Recovery

1. Create a Special Team

The first step is to create a special team tasked with recovery. This is a team composed of folks outside of the current project. Think of this team as an internal audit. Their goal is to do an independent evaluation of the project, conduct critical assessments, and execute the recovery process. As they will be stepping on toes, it’s important to have a good mix of personalities to minimize personnel issues. Buy-in from the current project team is key.

2. Start From the Top

Projects that follow the methodologies outlined by the Project Management Institute generally have a project charter with an outlined mission, objectives, and success criteria. These project artifacts must be reviewed and validated. It’s expected that some elements may need to evolve to match any new learnings since the project started. It’s also anticipated that any modifications will require approval.

3. Perform a Critical Assessment

A well-thought-out assessment is efficient, accurate, and minimizes project distractions. During the assessment, all critical project artifacts will need to be reviewed and project team members will need to be interviewed. Project artifacts in this step usually include the project plan, budget and associated metrics, estimate and pricing details, contract, and project organization chart.

The employees critical to the interviews include the project manager, sponsor, stakeholders, members of the project management office (if applicable), contractors, vendors, customers, and project team members. The goal of these interviews is to determine the exact status of the project, as well as any risks, issues, and opportunities. Interviews should emphasize confidentiality and open-ended questions.

Once the assessment is complete, the data should be analyzed and a list of findings and action items must be created. Then answer the most important question: is recovery possible? If so, move on to the next step.

4. Plan and Recover the Project

Once recovery is deemed possible, an extended team will need to be curated and the recovery process will start. It’s expected the focus now is on not failing. In addition, the recovery process will be subject to intense scrutiny, tight controls, and higher frequencies of communication and monitoring. The recovery plan must also take into consideration employee morale, personnel problems, and leadership issues. Patience, constant monitoring, and regular feedback are significant events during recovery.

Failing projects are recoverable. However, experience is necessary to turn them around. Do you need assistance in getting your project back on track? Check out Project Genetics today and meet with seasoned experts who can recover your troubled project! We help customers every day with project delivery. We are 100% committed to project success and can help you get your project back in line with your organization’s goals.

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