How to save a “failing” project

How to save a "failing" project

It is not unusual for me to receive a call from an association that sounds something like this: "We implemented a new AMS in the past year, everyone on staff hates the new system, and this whole project is failing. What can we do to save it?"

While every project is different, in most cases there are three things that should be done immediately to save the project:

  1. Create a "laundry list" of all the issues that need to be addressed. This can be accomplished by holding "bitch sessions" with the staff (which in itself can be cathartic). The key here is to document all the issues raised.
  2. Once the list is established, identify the key priorities AND the low-hanging fruit (issues that can be fixed quickly and easily).
  3. Establish a regular cadence (weekly) of communicating all progress to all staff. (This is standard database PR, something you should already be doing!)

The objectives here are straightforward: Demonstrating that you hear the issues and understand them (documentation); demonstrating that you're going to address them (low-hanging fruit); and communicating your wins (database PR).

In my experience, most projects are salvageable, and taking these three steps immediately is a great place to start.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

KPIs and Dashboards

February 28, 2019

I saw DJ Muller from MemberClicks speak on KPIs (key performance indicators). In his session …

KPIs and Dashboards Read More »

Documenting Process is Critical

February 22, 2019

When it comes to managing data successfully, process is critical. For example, a client of …

Documenting Process is Critical Read More »

Motion vs. Action

February 14, 2019

In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits (I recommend it!), he discusses the concept of motion vs. action. …

Motion vs. Action Read More »

Are You Answering Your Calls?

February 7, 2019

I’ve written about this before, but apparently I have to keep repeating it. If you’ve …

Are You Answering Your Calls? Read More »

Who do you trust?

January 31, 2019

Who Do You Trust I was reading an article recently about Warren Buffet’s “rules” for …

Who do you trust? Read More »

Set benchmarks to measure progress

January 24, 2019

It’s impossible to measure progress if you don’t know your starting point. This sounds axiomatic, …

Set benchmarks to measure progress Read More »

You’ll make incorrect decisions. Acknowledge them and fix it.

January 17, 2019

A client of mine recently wrote the following to me: “It’s so hard to set …

You’ll make incorrect decisions. Acknowledge them and fix it. Read More »

"Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to."

January 10, 2019

In Dan Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, he writes: “Experience is unobservable to everyone except …

"Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to." Read More »

Know Your Audience Before You Speak

December 20, 2018

This one may seem obvious, but when you’re speaking to anyone, whether it’s one person, …

Know Your Audience Before You Speak Read More »

"Behavior is a function of the person in their environment."

December 13, 2018

Lewin’s equation says “behavior is a function of the person in their environment.” (He was …

"Behavior is a function of the person in their environment." Read More »

Scroll to Top