The project owner wanted to know how the
project had gotten off track, the causes for the
expanded scope (which had significantly increased
the budget and schedule) and the change management process in place that should have been used
to control these issues.
First, I reviewed the project records and documentation, including the change management process, communication plan, stakeholder engagement
plans and project progress reports. Then I was able
to explain the project’s challenges in detail to the client. I was also able to establish an accurate baseline
for the project’s scope, schedule and budget, which
helped me to develop and implement a rescue plan.
A BREAKDOWN FROM THE START
I began to understand what had gone wrong:
a rudimentary breakdown in the project planning process. The project had not been organized
according to the guidelines in A Guide to the
Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®
Guide). Project decisions were made in a rush. This
created preventable challenges to project completion. One of the biggest failures in planning was
the lack of detail in requirements development, as
Rescuing a troubled project is among the toughest tasks a proj- ect manager can be assigned. But if you are given the opportunity to become involved in a project
rescue, I highly recommend taking it. You’ll have
the chance to hone your analytical, management
and leadership skills. Early in my project management career, I was called in to work on such a
project and it proved to be a great experience.
The project was the complete modernization of
a 46,000-square-foot ( 4,274-square-meter) military
barracks in Germany that was built in the 1930s.
The facility had to be brought up to 21st-century
standards, with central heating, ventilation, air
conditioning, fiber-optic cabling, IT equipment,
fire safety systems, full anti-intrusion systems, an
elevator and a fire escape. The client was the U.S.
government, and the project featured multiple
stakeholders, budgets and lines of authority. The
initial budget was around US$7 million but had
grown to nearly US$11 million. The schedule had
slipped almost a year. By the time I arrived as the
project manager, it was hard to distinguish the project’s true scope, schedule and budget from fantasy.
Getting It Done PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN ACTION
How to bring order to a
project in chaos.
By Fred Wenger III, PMP
By the time
I arrived, it
was hard to