Getting Your Project Back on Track
(Even when you’re in the middle of a crisis)
Most of us have been the leader or a co-leader of a big project at some time.
Perhaps you can also relate to this story, as unfortunately, sometimes the best laid plans go awry.
As I was working with one of my clients, the topic came up of how to get a key project back on track and how to keep it there.
I have found that it is helpful to plan ahead… to have a process that you can tap into that will get you back on track in the fastest, and most efficient manner.
Trying to create a process when you’re in the middle of a crisis though is a little like trying to remember you’re there to drain the swamp – while up to your neck in alligators, – so here are a few proactive tips:
Start by understanding where you are… by digging into the details:
- Where is my project off-track and what are the issues?
Scheduling? Money? Resources? A change in customer requirements?
- What are the contributing factors to being off-track?
- Has the business environment changed?
- Are there internal or external factors that are having a negative impact?
- Has support for the project declined?
- Are there key people resources who have left or been reassigned?
The next step is to revisit the original or latest version of the plan:
- What were the pain points that you were aiming to solve?
- What were the project objectives? Desired outcomes?
- Are the key drivers of the project still relevant?
- Who were/are the key stakeholders, and how would a delay impact them?
Update your current state, create a revised plan, and share appropriately:
- What has already been done? What is still to be done?
- What are the gaps, how do we close them and what is the revised timeline?
- Who is to do it?
- Anticipate potential obstacles and brainstorm how will you proactively plan to avoid them?
- What needs to be communicated and with whom?
Lastly, closely monitor the performance of the project and adjust in real-time in order to maintain credibility and stay on-track:
- Frequently track performance against the plan. Have systems in place to make it easier.
- Promptly address any issues that arise.
- Share what information appropriate parties need to know, and in a timely fashion.
- Lean toward overcommunication.
- Acknowledge good performance, encourage collaboration, and recognize progress.
- Leverage your skills. This is a time when you need to be a manager who is not only attending to the details while being a leader, but one who keeps the goals visible, inspires and encourages…