Does your project suck? Is it unsalvageable? Morale is in the garbage, everyone knows it's doomed, nobody wants to step up and allow themselves to be associated with the loser?
Yep, your project sucks!
But actually, it's surprising how quickly things can turn around when new ideas emerge. Start applying a few good principles, and people start believing again. That's sometimes all it takes. When people believe, they run toward the goal, just to see if it can be done.
Task warnings are a good place to start. Use task warnings to stop cost overruns and feature creep. Once people know we've got a handle on that aspect of the project, they'll know other things are not far behind.
"Yikes! We've got to finish these tasks up!"
Now try assigning tasks to employees, and watching the resource allocation charts. Move tasks along, and press toward the goal.
Link tasks and pay attention to project slipage. Let everyone know when it happens, and articulate your desire to prevent them from happening again.
Other tools help in other areas. Once you get a handle on your rotten project, morale will change. Give it a try.
Start with Task Warnings
As stated above, the place to start might be task warnings. Task warnings pop up when employees are approaching the end of their tasks. They are notified when they reach a certain percentage of the estimated hours. That percentage is set by the administrator. This single popup has a huge psychological effect. It tells employees that the expected time for the task is nearly exhausted, and that they should move on.
"Oh gosh, I gotta get going on this task!"
Another popup comes up with the task is fully complete, which locks the employee out. Those two popups alone could make a big dent in your effort to save a doomed project. They carry a huge message of urgency and completency.
Begin sharing project triangles with the project team
Competency and concern for the project can be demonstrated by simply printing and sharing a project triangle that represents your current project. That project triangle illustrates three demands that are held in contant tension. Those are Time, Cost, and Scope. The message is usually immediately clear. Viewers expect the triangle to be perfectly symmetrical. But if one corner is skewed badly, you immediately want to correct it.
"Seriously? That's our time, compared to cost and scope?"
For instance, if your "Time" corner is huge compared with the Cost and Scope corners, you instantly realize you've been spending too much time, and must find a way to get things done quicker. This simple graph demonstrates competency and care, which can motivate the team.
Competency inspires action
The mere demonstration of competency is your biggest tool in inspiring action to salvage a bad project. Share print-outs, discuss risks, explore unknowns, and generally involve the project team. Everyone already knows the project is doomed, so why no share the bad news in analytical terms. Show everyone that you know why it's doomed, and what you think should be done about it. If those discussions have the least air of plausibility, then you'll likely get a small following of believers willing to implement your recovery plan. Demonstrate that it's working, and the rest may follow.
Hi! I’m your online project assistant, and here are five things to do when your project sucks.
It all starts with the Standard Time timekeeping app, so download that first.
One: Use task warnings, so projects stay on track
Two: Assign projects and tasks, so timesheets are relevant to employees
Three: Link tasks, so slipping schedules are obvious
Four: Compare estimates with actuals
Five: Pay attention to project triangles
Now watch me again, and try this on your project!