Categorised | Business & Finance

How To Turn Around A Failing Project – Before It’s Too Late

Good project management is a skill to learn.

Many roles out there involve a certain degree of project management, and dealing with external factors to bring something in on time and budget is a skill that many of us will need to learn throughout our working lives. But what do you do when a project veers dramatically off track?

Sometimes, it doesn’t take long before things start to spiral downhill, and you may be left wondering how on earth you’ve gone from initial start up to complete confusion so quickly.

Experienced project managers will have gained the skill of being able to spot the early warning signs that things are beginning to slide, but if you haven’t had as much exposure to it, it’s possible for things to go a little too far before you realise.

But don’t panic, let stress take over and start typing up your resignation letter just yet – you can still turn things around and pull that project back on track. Here’s how..

Recognise The Warning Signs

If you’re steering a project, you need to be constantly vigilant for potential issues, because the real trick is to spot them before they escalate. Use the start of each day to review the project status and fix in your mind what milestones are coming up next. Signs that things are about to grind to a halt can include communication breaking down, minor deadlines being missed or consistently pushed back or a lack of buy-in from all parties involved.

Increase Engagement Levels

Keeping your stakeholders engaged and updated is your primary responsibility, as their interest and confidence that the project will be delivered is crucial. Turn things around by reaching out to increase that engagement and don’t be afraid to throw some direct questions out there to cut to the chase of the matter. Be tuned in to potential sources of conflict from the off, and plan out some potential fixes to have at your fingertips if these arguments occur.

Work With Trusted Suppliers

Often, we are under pressure to get the lowest quote and go with that one, but this is a false economy that careful project managers should avoid. The track record of delivery and the quality of the work are just as, if not more, important. You may find suppliers who will underquote to get the work, and then find reasons to inflate costs after they have secured the job. If you don’t already have a trusted relationship, make sure that you do careful research at the tendering stage.

Whether it’s hiring cranes from or buying in IT software, get in contact with previous clients first to check out how their experience of dealing with that supplier was and whether they would work with them again. Contracts should be written with delivery clauses in them where appropriate to ensure that suppliers have an incentive to keep on track, and agree the parameters of regular communication with then in advance, whether it’s fortnightly attendance at meetings or a phone call once a day if need be.

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