Rescue the Problem Project

Book description

Back from the brink—the first fail-safe recovery plan for turning around troubled projects. When budgets are dwindling, deadlines passing, and tempers flaring, the usual response is to browbeat the project team and point fingers of blame. Not helpful. For these situations, what is needed is an objective process for accurately assessing what is wrong and a clear plan of action for fixing the problem. Rescue the Problem Project provides project managers, executives, and customers with the answers they require. Turnaround specialist Todd Williams has worked with dozens of companies in multiple industries resuscitating failing projects. In this new book, he reveals an in-depth, start-to-finish process that includes: Techniques for identifying the root causes of the trouble • Steps for putting projects back on track—audit the project, analyze the data, negotiate the solution, and execute the new plan • Nearly 70 real-world examples of what works, what doesn’t, and why • Guidelines for avoiding problems in subsequent projects Many books explain how to run a project, but only this one shows how to bring it back from the brink of disaster. And with 65% of projects failing to meet goals and 25% cancelled outright, that’s essential information!

Table of contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. Foreword
  8. Introduction
  9. Part I: Understanding the Process and Realizing a Problem Exists
    1. 1 The Basics of the Recovery Process
      1. The Context of a Project
      2. Understanding Project Success
      3. What Is a Red Project?
      4. What Is Project Failure?
      5. What Is Project Recovery?
      6. The Recovery Process
      7. Roles in the Extended Project Structure
      8. Chapter Takeaway
    2. 2 Management’s Responsibility in Identifying the Problem
      1. Declaring a Project Red
      2. Traits of a Good Recovery Manager
      3. The Relationship of the Candidate Recovery Manager to the Project
      4. The Benefits of Involving a Third Party
      5. Creating the Assignment’s Statement of Work
      6. Defining the Responsibilities by Phase in the SOW
      7. Establishing the Recovery Manager’s Authority
      8. Accepting the Role as a Recovery Manager
      9. Creating an Outline of the Recovery
      10. Chapter Takeaway
  10. Part II: Auditing the Project: Understanding the Issues
    1. 3 Assessing the Human Role in Project Failure
      1. Who Should Be Interviewed?
      2. Interviewing the People Involved in the Project
      3. Interviewing Techniques
      4. Dealing with People Who Refuse to Talk
      5. Interviewing Management
      6. Interviewing Subcontractors
      7. Interviewing the Customer
      8. Interviewing End Users
      9. Remote Teams, Time Zones, and Work Weeks
      10. Assessing the Effect of Cultural Differences
      11. Assessing the Applicability of Core Processes
      12. The Outcome of the Interview Process
      13. Chapter Takeaway
    2. 4 Auditing Scope on a Red Project
      1. Determining the Efficacy of Change Management
      2. Auditing the Completeness of the Project Documentation
      3. Scope Creep Induced by the Project Team
      4. Saying No to Limit Scope Creep
      5. Dealing with Demanding Customers
      6. Chapter Takeaway
    3. 5 Determining Timeline Constraints
      1. Confirming the Project’s Triple Constraints
      2. Validating the Schedule’s Derivation
      3. Issues to Investigate on Estimation Methods
      4. Understanding How Team Progress Is Reported
      5. Chapter Takeaway
    4. 6 Examining Technology’s Effect on the Project
      1. The Importance of Technical Expertise in the Audit
      2. Understanding the Technology Goals of the Project
      3. Understanding Architects’ Biases
      4. Assessing Technology’s Effects on the Team’s Behavior
      5. Assessing the Team’s Capability with Technology
      6. Evaluating Make-Buy Options
      7. Chapter Takeaway
  11. Part III: Analyzing the Data: Planning for Project Recovery
    1. 7 Determining and Initiating Remedial Action
      1. The Audit Report
      2. Determining Whether to Continue or Cancel the Project
      3. Transitioning from the Auditor’s Role to Taking Charge
      4. Planning the Right Level of Process for the Project
      5. Requiring Meeting Minutes
      6. Implementing a Change Management Process
      7. Developing a Thorough Understanding of Project Risk
      8. Tracking Contingency
      9. Creating a Short Horizon Schedule
      10. Chapter Takeaway
    2. 8 Building an Extended Project Team
      1. Being Realistic About the Team’s Ability
      2. Actions on the Team
      3. Canceling Overtime
      4. Handling Team Members Who Are Prima Donnas
      5. Dealing with Management Problems
      6. Developing Plans with Subcontractors
      7. Boosting Morale with an Early Win for the Team
      8. Improving Communication with All Stakeholders
      9. Preparing to Negotiate with Management
      10. Steering Committee and Status Meetings
      11. Debunking Myths and Promoting the Project
      12. Communicating with the Project Team
      13. Communication Guidelines
      14. Chapter Takeaway
    3. 9 Considering Options for Realigning Technology
      1. General Issues to Consider When Assessing Technology
      2. Dealing with Technology Induced Scope Creep
      3. Developing Custom Technology Components
      4. Handling Issues with Common-Off-the-Shelf Products
      5. Resolving Conflicts Between Business Goals and Technology Implementation
      6. Environments for Building and Testing the Project’s Product
      7. Chapter Takeaway
    4. 10 Assessing How Methodology Affects the Project
      1. Methods of Developing Schedules and Estimates
      2. Gathering Project Progress Estimates
      3. A Hypothetical Example for Comparing Methodologies
      4. Phasing the Hypothetical Project’s Deliverables
      5. Using Agile in the Hypothetical Project
      6. Using Critical Chain in the Hypothetical Project
      7. Chapter Takeaway
    5. 11 How Agile Methodology Can Assist in a Recovery
      1. Agile Methodology’s Basics
      2. An Agile Project’s Lifecycle
      3. The Effect of Project Size on Agile Projects
      4. A Critic’s View of Agile
      5. How a Partial Implementation of Agile Can Be Achieved
      6. Chapter Takeaway
    6. 12 How Critical Chain Methodology Can Assist in a Recovery
      1. Understanding the Theory of Constraints
      2. Understanding the Principles of Critical Chain
      3. Differences in Doing Scheduling Estimates in Critical Chain
      4. Optimizing Resource Utilization
      5. Using Critical Chain for All Projects Sharing the Same Resources
      6. Chapter Takeaway
    7. 13 Comparing the Relative Value of Methodologies for Project Recovery
      1. Change Management
      2. Customer Relationship
      3. Estimations
      4. Process
      5. Project Constraints
      6. Project Manager
      7. Subcontractor Relations
      8. Team Focus
      9. Team Members
      10. Variation
      11. Chapter Takeaway
  12. Part IV: Negotiating a Solution: Proposing Workable Resolutions
    1. 14 Proposing and Getting Agreement on a Recovery Plan
      1. The Process of Negotiation
      2. Project Items That Are Not Part of the Negotiation
      3. The Goal of Any Negotiation
      4. Failing to Deliver Functionality: The Consequence of Failure
      5. Offsetting Removed Functionality: The Wish List
      6. The Goal of the Negotiation
      7. Compiling a Complete Negotiation Package
      8. Preparing the Information for Presentation
      9. Preparing the Attendees for the Meeting
      10. Selecting the Venue and Preparing the Agenda
      11. Variations on the Meeting Goals
      12. Chapter Takeaway
    2. 15 Dealing with “Unprojects”
      1. What to Do When Maintenance Is Part of a Project
      2. How Data Utilized by a Project Is Handled
      3. Problems When Mixing Strategic Initiatives and Tactical Projects
      4. Chapter Takeaway
  13. Part V: Executing the New Plan: Implementing the Solutions
    1. 16 Implementing Corrective Actions and Executing the Plan
      1. Implementing Corrective Actions
      2. Special Problems That Exist on Recovered Projects
      3. Old Problems Reoccurring
      4. Root Causes That Were Missed
      5. Dealing with People’s Perception of a Failed Project
      6. Management’s Overreaction to Small Problems
      7. New Scope Creep
      8. Chapter Takeaway
  14. Part VI: Doing It Right the First Time: Avoiding Problems That Lead to Red Projects
    1. 17 Properly Defining a Project’s Initiation
      1. Customer Inception: When the Project and the Problems Really Start
      2. Using a Guidance Team to Smooth Project Start
      3. Improvements to Project Proposals and Charters
      4. Chapter Takeaway
    2. 18 Assembling the Right Team
      1. Constructing the Team
      2. The Project’s Management Team
      3. The Dangers of Reusing Teams on New Projects
      4. Ensuring the Team Is Competent
      5. Team Considerations When Using New Technology
      6. Chapter Takeaway
    3. 19 Properly Dealing with Risk
      1. How Understanding Risk Can Help Projects
      2. A Real Project Scenario
      3. Using a Real Project Scenario to Understand Risk
      4. Quantifying Risk in the Sample Scenario
      5. Representing Unquantifiable Risk
      6. Correctly Classifying Risk for Proper Analysis
      7. Determining the Budgeted Cost for Risk
      8. Determining the Event’s Probability
      9. The Impact if a Risk Fires
      10. Tools for Calculating Risk’s Impact
      11. Chapter Takeaway
    4. 20 Implementing Effective Change Management
      1. Properly Handling Change During a Project
      2. Minimizing the Impact of Change in a Project
      3. Defining and Processing a Change Request
      4. The Five Sections of a Change Request Form
      5. Tracking Change Requests in a Log
      6. Chapter Takeaway
  15. Appendix: Files on the Rescue the Problem Project Web Site
  16. Endnotes
  17. Recommended Reading
  18. Index

Product information

  • Title: Rescue the Problem Project
  • Author(s):
  • Release date: March 2011
  • Publisher(s): AMACOM
  • ISBN: 9780814416839