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Project Off Track? Regroup, Reengage, Reset

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Elements of the project are falling apart, whether with the team, with the supplier or in your project management domain. Now is the time to regroup, reengage and reset everyone back in the direction of the project goal -- before it's too late.

To regroup, conduct a structured session with the core project team to capture the status of everyone's tasks. The regroup can be in the form of a meeting, brainstorming session or workshop. This way, no one on the team is invalidated for elements that went wrong, and you can show your appreciation for everyone's input. Allow for a discussion of their concerns.

To reengage, work with the team to align with the original goal, requirements and project deliverables.

Then, reset the expectations of each team member, as well as your responsibilities as the project manager. Finally, implement any changes required for the successful delivery of the project.

Separate failure to perform from a lack of teamwork within the group. This action allows you to focus on how to achieve the expected results of the project, with buy-in from the entire team.

What do you when your projects are off track?


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Excellent post!

I usually re-focus the project with the business objectives and highlight the main goals.


That is a good quick summary! Todd Williams has an excellent book about rescuing projects that have gone off track. We are going to hold an online study of his book to learn his approaches to rescuing problem projects. Should be an excellent learning experience.

What you say is true enough as a part of what has to happen, but dealing with the stakeholders, especially the budget holder is at least equally essential, otherwise your project and probably your job will go into the dusty bins of history. You cannot just replan a project in isolation.

NK Shrivastava - I would like to read your paper.

During crisis situations, it is best to keep your head cool. I have seen many terrible situations when sky was falling and the first thing you need to know is no panic and assess the situation.

Separate good from bad. Be part of the team and yet lead to the solution. Continuously resolve bad and maintain good. Continue the cycle - no panic, assess the situation, separate good from bad, lead to the solution, resolve bad and maintain good.

The whole solution is like PDCA: Plan, Do, Check and Act.

I have written an article on disaster situation that is related to it.

Nice post!

As a PM it is very important to keep track of all situations that are going on in the project. Checking in with team members is best solution, making sure they are on track and if not, taking a look at how you can help and get them back on track.

It is up to you to get the schedule figured out, distribute the tasks to the appropriate individual or team member, and keep track of the time. Sometimes you may seem you are a bit "buggy" when checking in with people, but being safe is important.

Making sure all your tracks are clear and the project gets done at least 3 days before, depending on how big/important the project is.

I agree. Corrective action as soon the issue is identified is key. Recently, it seems like more of the norm ... things are going so fast.

I'll be doing this tomorrow! Coincidentally I called my intervention: Reconnect & Realign.

Have a project that went right of the rails. Everything seemed to be going fine and then... crisis. The first step was to halt the project entirely, so that's where it is now.

The next step is to follow what's discussed in this blog.

I agree.

Sometime back I wrote a paper on troubled project recovery for one of SIG magazine.

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