The worst think about working on a project, especially when you’re the manager, is when you can feel it failing. Both you and you team know you are losing your grasp on it and you feel powerless to stop it. Whether it be in a school project, or at work most of us know that feeling. This is a hard pill to swallow because it means accepting that there is a problem with the path that has been taken.
So how do you get past this? How do you revive a team like that? Should you scrap the project all together losing all the time, energy, and resources put into it? Or should you power through with a bad plan just so you can finish? Maybe you could complain loudly, but ultimately do nothing to change the situation. I’ll admit I have occasionally been that person. It’s not something I’m proud of.
While these steps might be easy to do they aren’t always the best course of action. Here are some simple tips to get your project back on track:
Identify the problem
To fix the problem you have to know the problem. Take a step back and evaluate the situation, you need to understand exactly what went wrong and when. Now you have a starting point to build upon.
Get in the shower
Literally or figuratively clean yourself off! Rid yourself of the bad feelings you previously had towards the project. While this tip might seem unessential, it is actually quite important. If you refuse to let go of your past failures with the project it will make moving forward virtually impossible, it can hinder your ability to come to the table with an open mind ready for a fresh start.
Talk to your team
Communication is key. To get your team back on track everyone needs to be on board and working towards the same goal. This is not a time to try and place blame. Make sure everyone knows their role and how it contributes to the bigger picture. If possible, encourage an open line of communication to eliminate a breakdown in the project due to a breakdown in communication.
Learn from your mistakes and refocus yourself. Based on your identification of the problem create a new plan that solves it. “Issue a revised scope statement, obtain the funding, reset the schedule and obtain appropriate approvals. You have been given a new lease on your project” (Cutting).
This list is by no means comprehensive and these are only beginning steps to fix a bigger problem. But start here and you’ll be on the right track to saving your project.
How could you expand on this list? What tips do you have for saving a project? What doesn’t work? How do you know when a project is no longer salvageable?