As projects unfold, teams and stakeholders go through distinct emotional states regarding what can be achieved, spanning 'everything is possible' to 'it can't possibly get done.' The reality is somewhere in between. As part of an overall approach to rescuing troubled projects, there are ways to mitigate the dangers and leverage the power of these emotions.
Many project managers, well trained as problem solvers, engage like hammers looking for nails. But there are options, starting with a realization that so-called inherent project management problems -- responsibility without authority, indifferent sponsors -- need not be nails in your project's coffin. In fact, they can be leveraged. Here's an alternative perspective on some traditional complaints.
If team performance could be better on your project, chances are at least one of the causal factors is the way you delegate. There are at least 12 classic or discrete delegation errors. And here are an equal number of easy-to-implement tips for how to avoid or correct them.
Project teams that have a hand in estimating work scope and end dates are going to be more committed (and likely to succeed) than teams that have it all handed down to them. The answer is a networked organizational model that breaks down the power games and silos, allowing the truth about projects to be openly spoken and encouraging people to work together.
When a crisis suddenly threatens a project, the team will take its cues from the project manager. Strong leadership coupled with clear, calm communication can make the difference between a descent into panic and the road to recovery.
To lead a project team through the unknown, you must create a common vision, a "blueprint of success" that is crafted, communicated and updated to reflect current reality.