zandax online course logo
Home
 
Info, Blogs, Contact & Login
Learn
Tests

5 Useful Tips on How to Recover Failing Projects

From the ZandaX Project Management Blog

Articles to help to manage projects on time and on budget

Home  >  Blogs Home  >  Management Blog  >  Project Management Articles  > 
5 Useful Tips on How to Recover Failing Projects

5 Useful Tips on How to Recover Failing Projects

A post from our Project Management blog

      Written by Jordan James
"The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry."

When the poet, Robert Burns wrote the poem To a Mouse in 1785, he probably never thought it would one day apply to project management. In project management, we accept that the keys to project success are:
  • balancing the constraints of time, resources and quality;
  • and identifying (and resolving) red flags that could lead to project failure.
We do this by creating complex processes, project charters, project goals, plans, and more. But what we fail to realise is that all our planning can be upended at any time by unseen factors.

Even with better technology and processes at our fingertips, we find that more projects are failing, resulting in significant monetary losses. According to the latest report from the Project Management Institute, organizations lose around $110 million for every $1 billion invested in new projects. The report also states that only 64% of projects meet their goals and 16% of all projects started within organizations in the past 12 months were deemed failures!

Project Failure
Some of the causes of these failures included:
  • Ego and self-protection among team members
  • Poor definition of opportunities and risks
  • Skill mismatch
  • Inadequate / poor communication
  • Change in project objectives.
I'm sure you would think these things would be easy to spot and take care of, but in many failing projects, the project manager is the last one to acknowledge the failures. It's not that they don't see the project slipping off course, they just choose to turn a blind eye and hope it resolves itself.

Some of the common red flags that get ignored include:
  • A project running over the budget while being nowhere near completion
  • Low morale among project team members.
  • Scope creep
  • Rampant delays and missed commitments.
And when the reality finally hits, they tend to launch into panic mode. Wrong move. Panicking people can't reason effectively so they end up making rash fight-or-flight decisions. However, this type of response doesn't solve anything.

But it's not all gloom and doom – luckily, most failing projects can still be rescued if you know what to do. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are five tips on how to regain control and rescue your failing project.

1) Acknowledge the failure of the project

Many project managers tend to ignore the red flags as they hope they sort themselves out. This kind of thinking is misplaced in project management, as even well thought-out projects can have external factors derail them easily. While there is a place for optimism, good managers should also be honest with themselves (and others) about the state of a project. Their failure to do this will only doom the project and the project team, if it goes on for long enough.

2) Assess the project

Once you acknowledged the failure of the project, you should always assess the status of the project without bias. This can be determined by reviewing all the tasks and activities. By ignoring any previous estimates and concentrating on the project's current status, you can determine exactly what progress (if any) has been made so far.

The reassessment should include every element of the project, including time, budget, available resources, key skills and people. By evaluating the project this way, you will be assessing from a known baseline and will be better positioned to regain control.

3) Reaffirm the project aim

The reassessment phase will allow the project team to see exactly where the project went off course. It's now the project manager's role to remind team members of the original vision. By re-detailing the project requirements and deliverables, you can reignite some of the initial enthusiasm the project had at its inception. This reaffirmation will also help to remind people of the benefits of the completed project, both to the firm and everyone involved.

Project Benefits

4) Re-evaluate the remaining resources and create a new plan

At this point, we can agree that the initial project plans didn't work. Therefore it's time to evaluate the resources you have left, and work out a new schedule. This re-evaluation will lead to a new plan and the development of a new (realistic) time frame to complete the revised project.

By determining what's left of the initial budget, a manager can make the decision whether to reduce scope or reset the schedule. Do you need a larger team? Can you realistically afford better equipment? Is every member of the team aware of what their exact roles and responsibilities are? Have you identified new milestones or re-planned existing ones?

Re-evaluation isn't simply adding on all the available resources; it must be done strategically to avoid repeating the previous failures.

5) Change leadership

At the basic level, the failure of most projects can be traced back to a project manager who simply wasn't up to the task. Good project managers have a firm handle on managing the constraints of time, scope, cost and quality. Generally speaking, failure to control at least two of these will definitely cause the project to fail.

An organization's focus, however, must be on successfully delivering the project for a client. If doing that involves changing the project manager, it should be done swiftly and shouldn't be taken personally.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it's important for you to know that regardless of how much you plan or build in contingencies, an unexpected event can always happen. Most project failures can be linked to poor planning from the onset; but the first step to recovery is acknowledging this failure and refocusing the scope of the project.

Remember that you can always turn mistakes into learning opportunities; so follow this up by resetting expectations and re-dedicating the project team. With a motivated team, you'll find that you can rescue a failing project and deliver the promised results.

Back to the Project Management blog

Click the button for more Project Management articles.

The ZandaX Leadership & Management blog

Click a panel for great articles on leadership & management

ZandaX Blog Contents

Want to see them all? Click to view a full list of articles in our blogs.

Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
 
 
Leadership & Management
 
 
ZandaX online training course logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2022
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
Likeability
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?


Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Assertiveness
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?


Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management


Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback


Close menu element
Learn About:
 
Personal Development
 
Leadership & Management
Sales & Presentations
Marketing
 
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio
 

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!   All courses are CPD certified.
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel 2021 / 365
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft Excel 2013 / 2016
Introduction to Professional
 
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Powerpoint Introduction
Microsoft Powerpoint Advanced
 
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word Introduction
Microsoft Word Intermediate
Microsoft Word Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Access Introduction
Microsoft Access Intermediate
Microsoft Access Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook Essentials
 
 
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting
... there will be more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Take a look at our new Leadership & Management section which we begin with a superb course on Managing Teams
... there's lots more to follow, so keep in touch!
Team Leadership courses
Team Leadership & Line Management
For practical advice on managing teams for results.
Make your team successful and more positive with tons of real-world techniques that work.
  • Team Management for Line Managers & Supervisors
  • Building High Performing Teams (in production)
Watch Out For More!
We have more courses in the pipeline so check back soon to see what's new!
More team leader courses
Great, easy-to-follow courses on how to succeed in sales and presentations
Drive Your Sales to New Levels
Selling Skills course
Learn how to sell more, to more people
Deliver Presentations that Get Results
Presentation Skills course
Build and deliver great presentations
Your Keys to Success are here!
Sales Management course
Manage your team for great results
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this