5 ways a project manager can rescue a failing project

5 ways a project manager can rescue a failing project


Not all projects are alike. And, all unsuccessful project is a failure in their own unique ways and due to their own unique reasons! But, it happens that some projects can be salvaged. By adopting the right attitude and by making some tough decisions a competent project manager can resurrect a dying project. So, in this blog post we will see how a project manager can rescue a failing project.

Conduct a complete audit

If a project is failing and not delivering the results the project manager should conduct an audit of the concerned project. A complete and expert audit will allow the project manager and stakeholders to deduce what went wrong and why did it go wrong. During the audit all the procedures, process, controls, budget and resources should be evaluated and recorded objectively. The project audit can be conducted by an internal auditor (employees or team members) or external auditor (independent staff or contractor).

Convene a meeting
When a project manager senses that the project is failing, he should immediately convent at least three important meetings: the first one should be with the project stakeholders, senior managers, project sponsors or clients. The second meeting should be with the team members and all those executing the project. The third meeting should be with both parties –  project stakeholders, senior managers, project sponsor and clients as well as the team members and project execution team. During these meetings open and honest communication should be encouraged and all the participants should give their feedback without any judgement.

Evaluate the connections and relationships
The project manager must observe and assess the connections and relationship of all those involved in the project. In a team or in any company there are always differences and office politics. There are always a lot of wrangling or manoeuvring going on. So, a project manager should evaluate the different connections and relationships between the project stakeholders and executors. The project manager must calmly and carefully examine each of his team members, as well as the mode of operation. If there are positive synergies and relationships he should encourage them. And if there are some uncomfortable knots he should try to untie them to fluidify the situation.

Evaluate the budget
Budgets are the fuel that propels the project to success and final delivery. Sometimes projects are not able to deliver results because of budget constraints. Or sometimes, even if the budget was properly allocated, it is not well spent! It would be wise for a project manager to calculate the return of investment of all the expenditures to recalibrate and spend the funds where the project needs it for it to make an impact!

Evaluate the resources
If budgets are the fuel that propel forward a project then the resources are the vehicles that carries the project forward. A project manager should evaluate the performance, skillset and motivation of each team member. He must also evaluate the allocation of resources to see if each resource is allocated to the right task at the right time.  On one hand if a team member is unskilled or causing trouble which is impeding the project progress then he should be seriously dealt with either by training or by letting him go. On the other hand, if there are team members who are fully contributing they should be encouraged and rewarded accordingly.