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.

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