An early indicator of a faltering project can be a lack of momentum or communications with little depth. At this point, it is important to clarify the project outcomes and determine the current position.

We understand that successful project turnarounds require a unique leadership style, key attributes include diplomacy, candour, technical insight and above all excellent communications with all parties.

When the need to recover a project is detected early enough, most are successfully turned around. The result of a recent report by PM Solutions stated that 74% of failing projects subsequently succeeded after early recovery detection was identified.

The get-well plan

It is essential to take action quickly and appropriately to gain control of the project, whilst identifying issues and risks which may negatively impact progress.

Sometimes, difficult projects can create emotional responses, stakeholders can disengage and politics can ensue. These non-operational challenges need to be carefully addressed before the team can be fully productive. Failure to provide accessible ownership and leadership, technical weakness or lack of strategy are key factors behind recent high profile project disasters.

Other projects are put at risk simply due to poor change management, it may be that the delivery is just what the business asked for, but the operational team have not been adequately engaged and do not feel part of the project, therefore see issues as failings rather than opportunities to improve upon the delivery.

To start on the path to turnaround, the following steps are undertaken:

Software project recovery team at OpusVL

  • Engage all stakeholders and establish channels of communication
  • Clarify the outcome - what is it that this project is trying to achieve
  • Work out where you are today
  • Understand the resources and capabilities available to you
  • Consider the time and budgetary constraints
  • Determine the impact on delivery features or time-scale

Once the gaps have been identified, it is time to design a roadmap and focus efforts on moving forward in a positive frame of mind. A limited root-cause analysis should be undertaken, but be careful not to get caught up in the detail as it may cloud opportunities to progress, take the learning on board and move on.

Traps to avoid

However your project starts, you can quickly find yourself hampered by common pitfalls due to unforeseen circumstances, maybe inheritance of poorly defined or under funded projects. 
It is important to recognise these symptoms early and act.

  • Don't procrastinate
  • Don't underestimate the importance of change management
  • Recognise when there is not adequate funding or resource for your project
  • Don't generate endless reports to justify to stakeholders of the issues
  • Don't get caught up in the detail of the past
  • Don't fail to provide strong leadership through challenging times
  • Be wary of a supplier that presents assurances instead of evidence
  • Avoid inefficiencies and workarounds

How can we help?

OpusVL understands that it is all too easy to get caught up in the challenges and issues affecting a project. A fresh set of eyes with the ability to cover all angles can provide a frank, candid and objective appraisal of the situation and offer a new pathway. We will work with you objectively to discover who the right people are to deliver, and identify the core strengths for the project.

A broad set of technical and business resources covering analysis & design development and implementation can be rapidly deployed to complement your team or deliver your project. Capabilities include web, cloud and database systems, infrastructure, ERP and business management systems.

Our no-blame, no-politics culture will help bring your team together and determine the strategy and resources required to meet the needs of the business. With appropriate change management, stakeholders are invited to engage and provide constructive feedback whilst training for critical functions can be identified.