Sometimes problems are too big to fix by spending more time at the office. Band-aid solutions don’t always work, and can often lead to more complications. In these extreme situations, the best way to repair your project might be to overhaul it with the three “R’s”.
Retrace your steps
You have to figure out what to fix before you can fix it. How did this project get in such a bad state? Is it your fault? When did things start going wrong? Did you leave out a key project element? Did you work without client feedback? Did the scope get too large?
You’re essentially doing the project post-mortem while it’s still running. It’s a painful process, but that’s nothing compared to what you’ll have to do next.
Re-plan your project
You’ve probably realized by now that your project plan did not work. If it did, things wouldn’t be in such a sorry state. Besides, even if your plan would’ve worked had you followed it, the old plan doesn’t apply to your current situation.
You’re going to have to re-plan the project from scratch—or, from the earliest point you can afford to start from. This is your opportunity to do things right. So get new resources if you have to, and replace the ones who didn’t perform. Set new (and better) expectations. Sidestep the potholes you ran into the first time.
Re-engage your team
It’s probably safe to assume that the team’s morale is low. You’ve got the pressures of a failing project, along with the prospect of having to do it all over from scratch. That attitude is going to affect what you do.
You need to re-engage the team’s interest and enthusiasm. Give them a pep talk. Offer incentives. Show solidarity. Make them want to correct their mistakes. I realize that it’s harder than I make it sound, but it needs to be done if you want to get the project right the second time round.
Image credit, Flickr, Atli Haroarson