checkProject failure is not an option if you pride yourself on being a capable project manager. Unfortunately, failure can and does happen due to poor time management and organization, unanticipated staff issues and underestimating project costs and scope of work. While project snags and setbacks can occur in any project, they don’t necessarily have to lead to project failure. Project failure can be averted if you have a damage control plan in place before problems begin to arise. A project damage control plan is basically a blueprint for identifying what areas of the project are going off track, troubleshooting potential solutions and remedies and implementing corrective measures.

  1. Identify elements that are spinning out of control. Burying your head in the sand is a recipe for failure. Potential problems that are left unaddressed become major problems–and costly ones at that. Recognize and document project issues that require immediate attention.
  2. Organize a meeting with your project team members, clients, stakeholders and any other parties involved with the project to discuss the areas in the project that need fixing and possible solutions. Your damage control plan should list some tools, such as mind mapping tools, project baselines and basic project management metrics, that can pinpoint and assess project damage.
  3. Once project damage has been analyzed and assessed, prioritize each element in order to determine corrective measures to implement while effective damage control can still be performed. Using a risk register can prove very valuable in this phase of the process.
  4. Your damage control plan should include value management tools and simulations to show how project recovery will be accomplished, or in the worst case scenario, if the project can be salvaged at all.
  5. The final step in your plan is to clearly outline how suggested changes will be implemented,  including time frames, and begin implementation of those changes. At this step, close monitoring of the project is crucial. You will also need to make sure that the lines of communication runs smoothly between everyone involved. If necessary, appoint someone to facilitate implementation of the changes and make sure they are effective.
  6. Another additional step you can take is to designate a group of team members to design a project crisis recovery plan template–preferably before you ever need one. Once the template is developed, meet with your project recovery team to review the template and make modifications as needed to ensure it can be implemented on any project.

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