When Push Comes to Shove: Team Crunch Time

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Let me set the stage: You are the project manager on the most mission-critical project the enterprise has ever pursued. Your project sits squarely in the success path of the organization’s biggest new product release. The marketing campaign is well underway; pre-orders are rushing in (predicated on a ship date just three months away). Missing the launch and ship dates is non-negotiable. Failure to launch on time would be financially painful and publically embarrassing to the organization--it is not an option.

Over the past 12 months, the project has been going well. However, during the past month issues and concerns have surfaced regarding the achievability of the remaining three months of the plan. The CFO has offered more resources if needed to insure success. These issues and concerns have been driven by the following:

  • Tasks have been slipping
  • Some team members have been defensive when asked about the status of their tasks
  • There seems to be a lack of urgency and momentum amongst many team members
  • Sick and personal days have been increasing
  • Some team members have been late in updating their progress to the plan

Faced with the above situations, you need to act and act now. Management wants quantitative evidence that your project will finish successfully and on time. You call an emergency team meeting to engage them in the …

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The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day you're off it.

- Jackie Gleason