In recent years I have been spending a good portion of my consulting time on rescuing troubled projects around the world. Very often I would receive an e-mail stating something to the effect of:
Our company is currently experiencing certain issues with our (typically flagship) Project X and we would like to hear your opinion on how to remedy the situation. Would you be able to fly here for a project audit?
As a result of this, after having been exposed to a multitude of various troubled initiatives, I decided to attempt to systemize different types of problematic projects and potential approaches to their rescue (see Table 1). Please also note that I am trying to combine both the project portfolio management (i.e. value) and project management (i.e. on-time, on-budget, etc.) aspects of project success.
- PPMGood – project is valid from the project portfolio management perspective (i.e. if delivered, the final product or service will deliver value to the stakeholders).
- PPMBad – project is problematic from the project portfolio management perspective (i.e. will not deliver any value to the stakeholders) aka “dumb idea” aka “waste of company resources” aka “executive pet project”.
- PMGood – project is reasonably on-time, on-budget and is expected to deliver the full scope planned
- PMBad – project is considerably over budget, late and possibly not delivering full scope.
- Fixable – there is still a possibility of saving either project management or portfolio management facets of the project.
- Non-fixable – it is too late to fix the project problems, either on the project management or portfolio management’s side.
- A – Project will most definitely deliver value to the stakeholders and is reasonably on-time and on-budget. No remedial action necessary. Just continue monitoring and controlling it.
- B – Project will deliver value but is significantly over-budget and late. Implement full project management audit and re-plan the project, if necessary.
- C – Project was supposed to deliver value, but the project management issues are so out of control, that continuation of the endeavor is questionable.
- D – Project value to the stakeholders is questionable; however, the project is on-time and on-budget.
- E – Project value is uncertain and the project is experiencing serious budget and schedule overruns.
- Example: All recent Olympic Games
- F - Project value is uncertain and the project is experiencing serious budget and schedule overruns that are unlikely to be remedied.
- Example: All recent Olympic Games
- G, H, I – The project will most certainly not deliver any value to the stakeholders and may be experiencing some project management problems.
- Example: Channel Tunnel Project
So here is my question for you:
Do you think I managed to create an exhaustive “Troubled Project Recovery” matrix?
- Yes, I don’t see any other potential scenarios
- Some of the scenarios have been omitted (please indicate which ones)
About the Author
Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East. Read Jamal’s Blog @ www.thinktankconsulting.ca
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Jamal is an author of two very popular books: Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management and Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects.