My company is in the middle of a very important project that is falling apart. How do I get things back on track?
Currently, my business in the middle of a very important project, our first 'big game' project, that is simply not going well. I'm displeased with management of the project, execution by employees, and expectations by the client. Where do I even start?
Call a meeting of all involved in the project and get the status of the actions. Also it helps to remind the project team of the project's importance and their on going action items to get the project complete. Weekly reviews should be held with the project team and monthly with stakeholders.
As already stated, there are many great and useful answers. I would however add to Michael Weiner advice. I would have three meetings. The very first being with the client (only if needed), to clarify your own understanding of the project. Second, with the personnel involved making sure they understand each of their important roles.
If there is a question as to who fits an area or not on the project deal with it ASAP. Move them around or off until you get the right fits.
And of course the last with everyone, giving the client that sigh of relief he/she is longing for.
After this project, do a study on your Mgrs and project personnel. Find their strengths and build on them. Find their weakness and give them what's needed to help them grow in those areas. You are only as good as your weakest link.
Arnold Group, LLC
Immediately call a time-out! Prepare a list of what your concerns are. Bring together only the key persons that you trust and believe in. Engage to specifically address what if failing and prepare a solutions based plan to move forward. If you don;t have a team leader get the very best you have. Empower, mentor and move forward. Prepare frequent time outs to ensure the course is corrected. Lose the members that are either holding things back or don;t have the passion and energy to pull this off successfully.
Chris, sounds like some of planning did not work out. Sometimes bringing in a consultant changes the dynamic and can save things before business is lost. What is it that you wanted to accomplish and what exactly is going wrong?
It is not clear what is your role (project manager, owner, senior manager, etc, etc ) on this project. It would be very helpful to clarify this in order to get a better starting point.
If you are the business owner, then my experience is that the question "why are we doing this project?" in simple non-technical terms may not have been answered in a single statement (two lines at most).
The project owner needs to ensure that the project manager has got this very CLEARLY and been able to transfer this objective VERY CLEARLY to project team.
Someone has to cause a pause and get this question sorted out otherwise the project may drift into failure perpetually until it hits a point of no return.
Hope this helps.
Hello Chris, I know situations like that too well, many businesses have experience the same dilemma in what I refer to transitional phase ( a critical phase for any business). But the best sound advice one can provide you is that you have to step out of you and reassess what your expectations are for your audience if you will, and put yourself in the customer or client you are trying to attract? Make sense if you envision the dynamics involved in making a decision and we won't talk if it is right or wrong, because only practical application of your final decision will determine if it is right or wrong at that point make the adjustment but have to come to a consensus that will satisfy Customers. Our business if for our customers, because without them there is no business. I know I am adlib the full process of this phase, only because their is a lot involved and would take up to much space but hope you get the gist of it.
First manage client expectations while you get the project back on track. I like to MS project to really flush out the tasks and dependencies. This also allows you to assign resources to tasks and you can see where you have over allocated talent. The fix is more talent or longer days, or even sliding out the timeline to fit the available resources. You also might be able to get temp help on some of those tasks. Hope this helps.
1. First, get in your mind and your leaders to get into a solutions mindset and not play the blame game. It wastes to much time and can generate unneeded hostility.
2.Then meet with your staff. I obviously don't know the scope of the project and how many people are working on it, but include not only the managers you've chosen but also the "doers"/'connectors" the people in the trenches who get things done. The goal here is to find out exactly where all aspects of the project stand.
2a Find out from them realistic timelines to finish their components of the project.
2b Find out what problems they are encountering and brain storm solutions and no blame game stuff. Just potential solutions. Included are any person power issues where you may need to ask staff to take multiple roles.
2c. Once you go over all the components of the project with your staff, create a new game plan moving forward and make sure it has the buy-in from your staff.
2d. Tell your staff that you are going top present the new game plan to the client and that based on client needs the game plan may have to be modified, but at least internally everyone is on the same page and you can now put your hands around the project internally. You should have your own house in order before you talk to your client.
3. Have a conversation with your client.
3a Listen at first and get a good handle on the client's expectations and the reasons for their expectations.
3b As you are getting your client's point-of-view and story, you are comparing those views with your new game plan. Red flag any discrepancies or issues that don't dovetail well into your new game plan.
3c When the client finishes, Discuss the red flag issues, one by one. Probe to see if the issues are real or arbitrary. For example your client tells you that the research component needs to be completed by Jan 15th but your game plan that you went over in detail with your staff is pragmatically Feb 1. You need to find out why Jan 15th is important to him/her. Is it a date thrown out there with no purpose or is a hard date that connects with the client's business. Obviously once you know that answer you can negotiate the date to Feb 1 or if it is something that can be completed with some but not a lot of pain two weeks earlier then give the client the Jan 15 date.
Then go issue by issue and get your client's buy-in on the issues discussed and revise the game plan if needed.
Once you've gotten a new game plan together with your staff and had the conversation with the client and you have a solid working plan moving forward, you should have a monitoring plan.
As I know nothing of your plan - I'll throw these timelines out. Think about a short (30 minutes max unless there are big problems that arise) meeting with each dept head once a week; followed by a short meeting with each department letting the dept head run the meeting but you in attendance.
Make sure that you have a conversation with your client once a week or an agreed time like every two weeks, twice a week or whatever you both decide.
The key to it all is having conversations. Keeping in touch electronically is nice, it's easy and quick but something can be lost in the correspondence. Use email and other electronic media as a tool.
But there is no substitute for face to face and telephone conversations. If the project is important you your company you need to have conversations.
I agree with Michael, there may be some problem with communication. Communication at work has to be clear and straight. Except from understanding sifferent views on a project before its start, you should be in touch during all process. Sometimes it's difficult even when people work in the same building... That's why I would recommend some apps that may facilitate this, for example Kanban board that you may show to all co-workers like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/517491813403656762/ . I think it's quite useful solution for communicating things during process in very easy and straightforward way.
It is almost impossible to give real practical advice given the paucity of information provided; what is the project, what is going wrong, what do you think is required, etc?? Even with that there is little substitute to getting someone on the ground to assess matters and read between the lines.
That said I would a) advise the engagement of someone recognised as being skilled in project/programme rescue and b) make sure you do enough work to find out WHY it is going wrong and not just focus on what is going wrong. If you don't understand the why then any successful remedial work is likely to start eroding again.
I find that using the change formula is a pretty good diagnostic tool. If you don't know it then just google or ask.