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Repair Your Project with the Three R’s

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Is your project at risk of failing? Are you losing steam or (even worse) losing control? Are issues piling up faster than you can deal with them?

Sometimes problems are too big to fix by spending more time at the office. Band-aid solutions dont 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 Rs.

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?

Youre essentially doing the project post-mortem while its still running. Its a painful process, but thats nothing compared to what youll have to do next.

Re-plan your project

Youve probably realized by now that your project plan did not work. If it did, things wouldnt be in such a sorry state. Besides, even if your plan wouldve worked had you followed it, the old plan doesnt apply to your current situation.

Youre going to have to re-plan the project from scratchor, 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 didnt perform. Set new (and better) expectations. Sidestep the potholes you ran into the first time.

Re-engage your team

Its probably safe to assume that the teams morale is low. Youve 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 teams interest and enthusiasm. Give them a pep talk. Offer incentives. Show solidarity. Make them want to correct their mistakes. I realize that its 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

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