This Is The Best Thing You’ll Do To Save A Failing Project

Sep 25, 2019

Four ways a recovery specialist will save your project

When someone calls Luminate something’s gone wrong. It can take time to realise this – sponsors don’t like admitting there’s an issue. Often we’re called when a project (or sponsor) are nearly terminal. But getting that call means someone’s finally made the right decision. They’ve realised they need a specialist.

Acceptance is the start of recovery

Acceptance is the most valuable emotion a sponsor can bring to a failing project. A broken project is a tough place – it’s a febrile atmosphere, with scarce information, clashing egos, and unbearable pressure from above and below. So accepting things have gone wrong is the first step towards the single best action a struggling sponsor can take. And that’s to call a recovery specialist.

It’s sometimes hard,when deep in the project forest, to see the wood for the trees. Accepting things are wrong and bringing in a specialist is the start of clarity for you and your project. It sends a strong message – to the team and the wider business. A recovery specialist shows the problem is being owned, and just as important, being taken seriously. It’s the first step in restoring visibility, control, and confidence to your stakeholders.

Project managers and the right stuff…

So it follows that selecting the right recovery manager is critical. A good recovery specialist can bring that elusive “right stuff” to your project. That means someone with no previous affiliation to the project, capable of delivering the objectivity required. The ideal recovery manager is an independent battle-hardened delivery specialist, with deep technical background and long on recovery experience.

Four ways a recovery specialist can help

Selecting the right person gives you a number of advantages. Some of these are classic “new broom”, but with the right specialist you’ll also get that invaluable wealth of experience. Here are four ways they can help.

1. Objectivity. Project teams have strong opinions. Some may be valid, others less so. A third party eliminates these preconceived ideas, perceptions, or opinions. They deliver your project on the fact based corrective actions it needs to address the root causes of problems.

2. A new management style. A troubled project puts a team through the wringer. A recovery specialist offers a new approach, with empathy and experience based expertise offering understanding of the teams’ challenges. Your specialist’s delivery experience will re-energise your team and get them back on the delivery journey. For a sponsor this is golden – your project is back on track, and just as important, you can get back to your day job.

3. Pragmatism. A seasoned third party won’t just offer experience and expertise. They’ll offer pragmatism. That means an understanding delivery can’t be locked to any particular methodology. An experienced third party will bring multi-disciplined capability and experience and is delivery methodology agnostic.

4. Abstraction. A recovery specialist shields you from the fallout, creating a good cop/bad cop environment where people changes or scope reduction can be delivered objectively. Taking the heat from the project team, they allow you, the sponsor, to avoid animosity from the incumbent delivery team stakeholders.

If you are feeling things are getting beyond you, now is the time for you to take action. The sooner you make the call to recruit a recovery specialist, the quicker your project gets back on track.