Here are five things you can do to revive a failing or distressed project and bring it to a successful completion.
1. Accept that the project is failing
This is an important step, but not all project managers are ready and willing to accept that their projects are not as successful as they want it to be. Admitting that the project has serious problems is key to starting a rescue mission by taking immediate and necessary corrective actions.
2. Suspend the project for a while
This is an opportunity wherein the integrity of a failing project can be restored. While this might affect project completion timelines, it is always advisable to pause a failing project than waste money, time and resources by continuing without concrete remediation action-plan.
3. Assess the extent of “project damage”
Initiate a project audit to determine, how much that project has deviated from it original scope. This helps to determine how much of project integrity must be restored. A project audit must be completed by the project manager. Key project resources and relevant stakeholders must also be engaged on an as-needed basis. The goal of the audit is not to fix the project per se, but to determine the causes of why it is failing, based on important factors such as budget, schedule and quality.
4. Assess the required effort to complete the failing project
Project auditing comes with the process of assessing required effort to complete a failing project. Intuitive estimation helps in case of small and low impact projects. For larger, complex projects be sure to consider all types of tangible and intangible impact. Include cost, resource requirements-availability, release timeline, missed benefits, loss of profitability, project team reputation, client-acceptance and such other criteria in your equation.
5. Validate integrity of the failing project
There is one question that must be answered with a resounding yes, and that is: is it still worthy to continue with the project? There is always a possibility that the failing project may no longer be a priority for the organization, particularly when it has already exhausted all its allotted resources. Only when it is determined that the project is still relevant and needed, should it be restarted.
Once you have completed these steps, restart the project with firm remediation action plan, tight project plan and strong project governance to ensure previously identified issues are avoided or resolved. This will help to ensure a successful completion.