Every project experiences problems, but there are telltale symptoms that identify a project in need of the prioritization and discipline of a systemic rescue. Project managers who understand the sources of these potential problems have a much better chance to control and moderate their influences throughout the project lifecycle.
This is the second installment in an exclusive series excerpted from the book "Project Rescue — Avoiding a Project Management Disaster" (McGraw-Hill, 2004). Read the first installment here.
When a project break point is reached, the chances of putting a project back on track without relying on a significant intervention decreases dramatically with each passing day. Following the behavior shown by an exponential curve, problems continue to multiply, team behaviors deteriorate, and mistakes are compounded and repeated.
Of course you're free to follow a project rescue approach on every initiative. However, a project rescue involves setting a pace, mood, and tone that will both exhaust and exhilarate a project team. A project rescue may not be needed, or perhaps may be required only to get over a few hurdles. There are some telltale signs that can be used to identify a project that needs the focus, discipline, and prioritization that is offered by systemic project rescue.