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Project Failures and Turning Around Troubled Projects

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Presentation on theme: "Project Failures and Turning Around Troubled Projects"— Presentation transcript:

1 Project Failures and Turning Around Troubled Projects
Zubin Irani, PMP, CSM CEO & Co-Founder Twitter: @iranizubin cPrime, Inc. 4100 E. Third Ave, Suite 205 Foster City, CA 94404

2 About cPrime cPrime provides Agile and Project Management staffing, consulting, and training services. A focus on Project Management provides industry leading personnel and comprehensive courses in Project and Program Management through cPrime Training Center.

3 Why are we here? Challenged late (100% median)
over budget (50% median) lacking functionality low quality Data from 50,000 projects Copyright © 2009 by The Standish Group International, Inc.

4 Success = Satisfied Customers, Users and IT
Success is not “planned scope, on time, on budget” We may think this way Customers don’t (even if they say they do…) Success is “customer satisfaction with responsiveness and the right functionality” Customers want features that will help them increase revenues or meet their management objectives Customers want to be included in the project They want predictable and consistent results Success is “the team is proud of what they’ve implemented” People talk about that project team for years to come Management truly celebrates successes with the team Value is added to the organization People feel that everyone worked equally hard to make the project a success 4

5 Failure = Everyone Unhappy
Project Team is burned out and miserable Business Customers feel like they paid too much for something they don’t want IT Management got their butts chewed out CIO got his butt chewed out by his boss Business Exec got chewed out because they missed their numbers Some people get fired or functionally demoted! Vendors get sued and/or don’t get paid The effects last for a very very long time!

6 Let’s talk about past project problems
Pick two recent projects and discuss with your neighbor: What went wrong? When did you identify that there was a problem? What symptoms did you see? What does a Project in trouble look like?

7 What does “trouble” look like?
No one on the project knows when the project will finish The project’s deliverables are loaded with errors and defects Management is unable to forecast a project completion date or estimate to completion Requirements keep changing Inconsistent goals and constraints The customer has lost confidence that the project team will ever deliver the promised deliverables The morale of the project team is very low The team is experiencing irresolvable conflicts Interpersonal relations between project team members are highly strained Management is considering the cancellation of the project Many deliverables have been 90 percent complete for a long time

8 Example Project – CRM Implementation
New CRM implementation 10,000 users 50 call centers Impacting Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Finance, & IT organizations Project is late, many bugs, burned out resources, and very political Does this sound familiar?

9 CRM Implementation Project Example
Business environment was rapidly changing resulting in new initiatives and project requirements Existing requirements changing due to unknown deliverables Management surprised by new/changing tasks and by a large budget change request Teams were seeing issues but weren’t communicating them Have you ever been asked to Turnaround a Troubled Project?

10 Your Role as the Turn-Around Project Manager
Internal vs External Project Manager Influence Ability to affect change Traits Driven Solution focused Positive

11 The right turnaround Project Manager
A great Project Manager is a Leader Controls emotions Makes other people look good Communicates clearly, succinctly and regularly Builds Trust with other people Inspires Creative Problem-Solver Detailed Oriented Brings positive energy

12 Your choices Continue the project as is and accept the risks
Very expensive, poor deliverables, loss of reputation Stop the project Sunk costs lost, no value to the business, loss of reputation Continue the project but make key changes to get back on track An opportunity to deliver value Identify the problems and take action Only the last option to continue and make changes is viable for most any organization

13 Treat it like a new project
Plan of attack Acknowledge that there’s a problem Gather Project Information Review the problems and solutions with the sponsors & stakeholders Plan the project recovery Execute the recovery and get the project back on track! Treat it like a new project

14 1. Acknowledge that there’s a problem
Meet with the project sponsors and stakeholders to discuss their perception of the project’s history and intentions: Understand their expectations and how they define success Limit the discussions and findings to project issues Activities associated with recovering a project may be highly sensitive to human emotions and reactions. There are no canned solutions for a troubled project Be realistic with what can be done to “fix” the project Be open-minded and ready to change First step to re-building trust and credibility

15 CRM Implementation Project Example
Acknowledging the problems Cost and schedule overruns triggered discussions about project health Presented and disclosed core problems and agreed to make the necessary changes to fix it Let them know additional funding, resources and a change in timeline is inevitable Examples Now, let’s go Gather Project Data…

16 2. Gather Project Information
Gather project details to determine where the project went off track How is “trouble” defined? More than just scope/schedule/budget – what metrics available? What work remains to be done? Will it provide appropriate deliverables? Root cause of these project problems? Stakeholder expectations Audit documentation Most answers and solutions already exist ---- extract the information from the team members, organize and use it to help solve the problems How does a company or PMO define “trouble” or “failure” Does the organization have any project metrics that can be used to discover where problems may exist? Validate the remaining scope – what work needs to be done? Does it align with stakeholder expectations? What caused the project to get off track? What do the stakeholders expect from you? What is within your ability to change? Document the assessment of the project and potential solutions

17 Review Project Metrics and Reporting
All earned value metric (Cost variance, CPI, Schedule variance, SPI, etc) Task list and tasks completed Initial requirements and changed logs Resource turnover, resource changes Overtime rate Defect data/Error Logs Problem data Verify that all work reported as "done" is in fact completed. Validate the current status of all activities. Investigate weekly and monthly status reports, problem and issues logs, and memos. A lot of Troubled Projects will be missing some of these items!

18 Review Project Processes and Documentation
Recurring project and management meetings? Notes from each meeting? How does the project team track and respond problems and issues? What reports are used? How are these reports gathered? What processes are there? Are the processes documented? Are the processes appropriate to control the project and respond to problems?

19 Capture and summarize your audit findings
Project summary/background Sponsors, stakeholders, and approvers Audit team members Initial Project Charter Business case Risks Deliverable defects Key findings/Root cause of problems Recommendations Immediate action plans Impact to original project budget, schedule, and deliverables Transparency is key to re-building Trust

20 CRM Implementation Project Example
Audit Findings Found there were over 800 defects in Integration Testing, due to a hobbled environment and lack of unit testing by development There wasn’t any data in the Performance Test environment, so the Performance Team was spending 3 days to seed enough data for a 2 hour performance test Budget was 22% over forecasted labor projections Requirements changes were changing constantly and were not being tracked or managed Teams weren’t as far along as they had been reporting to management Test and development teams were pointing fingers at each other There wasn’t an integrated project plan that was being managed

21 3. Review Problems and Solutions
Re-establish stakeholder confidence in the project Present solutions as one of the many options to get the project back on track Set realistic timelines and budgets Outline factors beyond your control and provide a mitigation plan if possible Own the new project – you have inherited the problems and successful completion will be your win Stay confident admit the difficulty of the challenge Discuss the impact of rebuilding the project team ReBRAND EVERYTHING What are some solutions you’ve used before?

22 4. Plan the Solution Work with core team leads as needed Work more
Get more productivity out of your team with over time Focus resources on critical tasks Change up the team Add more efficient or knowledgeable resources Crash the schedule Lock down scope Increase the budget Change or create project processes + dozens more

23 CRM Implementation Project Example
Project Solutions Bring in outside Subject Matter Experts and technical resources Lock down all scope changes Set up steering committee to review issues and technical solutions Break deliverables into phases to delivery project value sooner Swap out Team Leads that were under performing and weren’t willing to collaborate with counter-parts Designate a Project Coordinator to manage labor hours and expenses

24 5. Execute Your Recovery Closely monitor recovery activities and changes Make changes as needed to ensure success Document all activities Meet with leadership and keep them aprised of progress, setbacks and course of correction Champion your recovery successes You are fighting an uphill battle ---- marketing is even more important!

25 CRM Implementation Project Example
Recovery Execution and Results Estimates more accurate, delivered new requirements on time and on budget Steering committee adapted for all future large roll outs Able to complete new project (updated requirements) within 2 months of original schedule

26 Lessons Learned (The Hard Way)
Summarize all discoveries into one document Review how project was recovered with sponsors and stakeholders Implement changes in PMO process and planning (if possible) Let’s make sure the organization doesn’t get into this mess again

27 A Few Case Studies Let’s share some personal examples where the problems were with: Troubled Personnel Troubled Processes Personnel – 1) tech resources not engaged, didn’t provide estimates 2) technical resources not current on new technology, felt they would be replaced, were not being trained Processes – QA processes don’t involve business, no regression testing, no validation of fixes = poor product quality

28 Q & A

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