6 Steps to Get Endangered Projects Back On Track

6 Steps to Get Endangered Projects Back On Track

Any project can falter for a variety of reasons. The key is to recognize when your project has gotten out of hand and take a clear, measured approach to getting things back in order. […]

Delays are not uncommon in project management, no matter what field you are working in. But what can you do as a project manager if a project is delayed in order to get it back on track?

This is often easier said than done, but it is important not to panic; a calm head always prevails, as they say. When a project is delayed, time is of the essence. That’s why it’s important not to hesitate, but to take action. Otherwise, your company may face very costly consequences, because what does not seem urgent now can turn into an uncontrollable fire in the shortest possible time.

In the following, you will learn how to deal with project delays in the shortest possible time in order to avoid additional problems and complications.

Get to the bottom of the problem quickly

Determining the exact cause of a delay or delays is an important first step. Without knowing the causes, you could make a bad thing much worse. Get to the bottom of the problems in order to effectively find the right solutions. It could be that a project is delayed due to problems in the supply chain, which has become all too well known for many projects in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps a project got out of hand due to resource problems due to limited human resources – also a problem that many companies had to deal with during the pandemic. Use root cause analysis tools such as Pareto diagrams, The 5 Whys, scatter plots, Fishbone diagrams, or others to determine the cause. Due to a combination of these and other factors, many companies have difficulty getting projects that have gotten out of hand back on track. It is crucial that the cause is the answer to the solution of projects that are getting out of hand.

Keeping important stakeholders informed

Keeping the key stakeholders informed from the beginning and throughout the project is one of the most important steps when a project gets out of hand. Unfortunately, this type of communication is often neglected, because project managers can be overwhelmed or hope that they can put things in order before the stakeholders find out that there is a problem with the project for which they are responsible.

Transparency should be part of your stakeholder management plan; it is best to be open, timely and honest. Most stakeholders would rather find out about the project problems immediately and get involved. Projects are a team effort, and those involved can be a valuable part of finding solutions.

Rely on your team

Experienced project managers know that projects are a team effort; they know that the best solutions are developed with a team-based approach. It is important that teams work together to solve problems, not just to identify them. Once the cause of the project delays or problems has been identified, it is best to involve the team members who are experts in the field in the search for the best ways to get the project back on track.

Recheck the project plan and adjust the scope

You need to return to the project plan and re-check the scope to determine where something went wrong and make the necessary applications and changes. This step is a must. Your company and its projects should have a formal procedure for amendments to formally request, implement, document and track necessary changes. If you do not have a system for assessing changes in the scope of the project, then not only can you not succeed in getting the project back on track, but new problems may arise.

Re-evaluate your resources

Before you start assigning or reassigning tasks, you should take the time to consider how and when your current resources are being used. It could be that some of them are already operating beyond their capacity. Some resources could be reallocated and put to better use. Some may not work on tasks for which they are qualified, and their real value will be wasted.

The key is to closely examine each individual resource to determine their skills and education – and any other factors that may have changed because the project has gotten out of hand. Once you have determined whether resources need to be relocated, reassign the tasks if necessary. Changes in your external or internal environment may require the flexibility to make quick adjustments.

Depending on the cause of the problems, budgets, quality assurance or other aspects of a project may need to be revised and adjusted.

Monitor and document changes

Monitoring and documenting changes may seem tedious, but it is necessary to ensure that changes bring a project that has gone out of control back into balance. The documentation and monitoring of scope changes is an important best practice. Numerous project managers, teams and project sponsors had to review changes to see if they were effective in solving problems.

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