Recovering a Failed IT Project

Have you ever been a part of a failing project?

Information Technology Projects, three words that cause many to shudder at the thought.   Many IT projects are successful, but many more are marginally successful to just downright fail.   There are a myriad of reasons why IT projects so often fail, or miss the mark.   Here our focus is on how to rescue a failing IT project.

First and foremost, one has to understand the current situation.

What does that mean?  Well, we first have to understand the goals and objectives of the project.  What are we trying to achieve?   What is the end goal that defines success or failure?    We also have to know where we are in the process, and the challenges that have placed the project into its current situation.

How can we do this?  We must first meet with the project team and all stakeholders.   We do so to gather their ideas on the issues at hand.  It is critical to understand the situation enough to get to the root cause behind the issues that got the project into the current state.

I’ve seen many times that projects begin with no clear direction or end goal in mind.  I’ve seen many projects begin with no resource commitment, and no understanding of the resource demand to make the project a success.

Is there a template to recover an IT Project?

Unfortunately, there is no real cookie cutter plan or process to rescue a project, whether an IT project, or any other project for that matter.   However, starting with a clear understanding of where the current situation lies,  as well as the goals and objectives of the overall project, is a great  foundation to righting a derailed project.

Having a commitment from the start from managers as to the resources needed, and the amount of time needed, is one key element to keeping a project on track.  Oftentimes, it is a misalignment of this item called resources, and resource allocation that creates the conflicts and derailment of a project.  Achieving alignment here is critical to recovery.

Keeping with the resources theme, projects must have the correct people involved. Otherwise, again, the project is at a great risk of failure.  Shoring up any staffing shortages or any shortage on subject matter experts is critical to recovery.   Ensuring a proper foundation to the project is a solid road to driving the project back toward success.

In project preliminary phases or in project recovery, giving the time and attention to these items is a great start to recovering a failing or failed IT project.

This is a start to recovery.   Take the time to ask questions, to understand where we are, and how we got there.  Plowing forward without such an understanding will likely result in continued project challenges that ultimately result in failure.

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