Head Off Problem Projects

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with - or even disagree with - leave a comment.

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We've all seen the signs a project is about to blow up — a schedule goes awry, a budget exceeds its tolerance threshold. To prevent this, consider taking a few measures:

  • Secure executive support for major issues. Initial project documentation, such as a project charter and communications plan, will classify your project sponsors and champions, their roles and responsibilities, and escalation procedures. Rely on that, but also position yourself for frequent project status meetings with executives. 
  • Keep communications with sponsors and key stakeholders at a level that allows you to reach out to them when you may need them.
  • Be aware of your project environment at all times. Regularly review project plans against where you are and what's planned to come. It will help minimize the risk of an issue arising when you least expect it — a resource pushed to the point of no return, for example. 
  • Look for lessons learned. Review the project history for potential concerns you may want to monitor and document in your risk log. Meet with other project managers in and outside of your organization to learn about pitfalls they may have encountered and how they handled them. 
Prevention requires preparation, listening and awareness. As you interact with your team, your sponsors and other project managers, be sure to listen and look for pain points that warrant investigation. 

In my next post, I'll talk about recovery steps when facing a troubled project. For now, please share what you do to prevent troubled projects.
Posted by Bernadine Douglas on: July 09, 2013 04:49 PM | Permalink

Comments

Christian Bisson, PMP
Great tips. I would also add to make sure you are clear in ALL your communications. If a project is in trouble or seems to head that way, our stress level rises, and we may be tempted to 'throw' the information to people instead of carefully transmitting it. It's important to be careful.

Bernadine Douglas
Hi Christian, Your point is very good. In these type of circumstances, still sending good communications should not be overlooked. Thanks for sharing, Bernadine

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