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Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, 7th Edition by Robert K. Wysocki

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Chapter 13

Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Distressed Projects

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang aft a-gley, and leave us naught but grief and pain, for promised joy.

—Robert Burns, Scottish national poet

CHAPTER LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
  • Recognize a potentially distressed project
  • Understand why projects become distressed
  • Implement prevention strategies
  • Use the tools, templates, and processes for preventing distressed projects
  • Understand and apply the intervention steps for a distressed project
  • Conduct a Root Cause Analysis for a distressed project
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of the Project Support Office (PSO) with respect to distressed projects

Despite the project team's best efforts, some projects are destined for problems. Sometimes it's the team's fault, and sometimes it's just the roll of the dice. What is important is to protect the project against the unexpected and to have early warning signs in place to minimize the impact of the coming problems. Having a solid risk management plan is also important. These are the prevention strategies. But the inevitable still happens, and sometimes you are left with a project that is in trouble, one you need to save as best you can. These are the intervention strategies. Forming and executing prevention and intervention strategies is the focus of this chapter.

What Is a Distressed Project?

Whenever the performance of a project falls outside nominal values, ...

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