7 Project Recovery Techniques when you feel like the project is getting out of hands

Project Recovery techniques

Sometimes, the best of intentions fall through the cracks. Even if the kick-off was successful, the engagement was high, everyone was excited, somehow, somewhere things started falling apart.

The shift might be gradual at first. But before you know it, you’re already losing engagement, missing deadlines, and eventually finding yourself completely thrown off track. How will you be able to fix things? Here are 7 project recovery techniques which can bring back a project that is about to go haywire.

A survey conducted by Practical Strategies revealed that nearly 37% of all projects face massive failure and the overall loss sums-up to $200 million per year. What causes projects to go off on a tangent?

The article by Matt Alderton published in PM Network identified 4 project management problems which can be a reason for the delay in the delivery of a project.

  • First, projects devoid of up-front planning tend to digress. Either the goals are not clear, or the project requirements are buried under layers of ambiguity.
  • Second, communication is the key. Lack of communication thwarts you from comprehending the width and breadth of a project. The pitfalls, roles of every team member, and even the progress need to be shared with each person on the team.
  • Third, you can use TaskQue to effectively manage your team and project timeline, in addition to documenting the scope, schedule, costing and all the constraints of the project. However, if you’re using TaskQue to keep track of your deadlines, staying in tune with the status of the project is a piece of cake for you. But if your project manager is not updating the status of the project, this can lead to profound consequences.
  • The fourth one is a disconnected Personality conflicts, trust issues, or out-and-out apathy can lead a project to disaster. It goes without saying that project management is at the heart of leadership.

Now, let us move to the 7 project recovery techniques:

1) Ask, if it is worth the risk?

Before you start the recovery process, it won’t hurt to introspect if the project is worth recovering. It is possible that the deadline has been crossed and the project is no longer relevant. In such a case, project managers need to sit and think about the viability of the project.

In doing so, the project managers can start with these three questions:

  • Does the project entail changes or iterations? If so, what will the new project cost?
  • Is it an urgent project? Can the project be put in to hold for some time?
  • Are there enough funds to run the project?

2) Work Overtime

Of course, this is the last resort. Overtime leads to low motivation and a sudden drop in the morale of the workers, but you can always try team building games to keep your employees drive.

The best approach is to praise the efforts of your employees and lead the team towards your end-goal. Explain why the project is important and what it means for the company?

3) Shoot down the schedule

There are two ways to do something. One is hard work which translates to overtime in our case. The second is to work smart. Working smartly means eliminating the unnecessary steps and choosing the critical path to get the thing done. An article by Microsoft shows how to select the most critical parts and make your schedule flexible.

4) Fast Track Tasks

The idea here is what we call partial overlapping. With this approach, you find that tasks that could be started right before their predecessors are completed effectively. Which means you can pick and choose to complete tasks which are not dependent on any other tasks first.

5) Scope Change, not anymore

As mentioned earlier in Matt Alderton’s article, defining the scope of the project is the tricky part. If you don’t determine the scope right from the start, constant changes in the scope will only serve to confuse the workers and creep them out. Try not to change the scope every now and then.

6) Slackening the Horizon of the project

Perhaps the initial horizon of the project was too expansive and the allocated time was not enough to complete the project, which resulted in slackening the project and killing its core. It is wise to keep the horizon of the project as wide as you can manage.

7) Outsource

Often viewing the project with a fresh perspective can help produce better results. In this case, outsourcing the project can save time, energy and resources. This can help you ‘clear the air’, get and everyone back onboard.

To wrap it up

Project recovery needs a cool yet determined head.

When it comes to applying the project recovery techniques, the environment plays an important role. With a toxic environment, the line between command & control can be blurred out.

It is important to understand that project management is a challenging job. Recognizing the early warning signs and doing something about it can help you surpass the trouble spots mentioned by Matt Alderton.

Let us know what you think. We’d love to hear about your project recovery success and horror stories. Also, if you haven’t already, please sign up for our monthly newsletter and receive our latest blog posts and other news from the world of IT Project Management.