How Do You Dig Out When a Project Goes South?

Even with careful planning, projects can head south. Unexpected issues aren’t as uncommon as many companies would hope and, when caught off-guard by a problem that wasn’t anticipated, a project can quickly go off the rails. Thankfully, when issues arise, that doesn’t mean a project is unsalvageable. By using the right strategy, it’s possible to dig the project out and get it back on the path toward success. If you want to have a sound approach for dealing with a project headed toward failure, here are some steps that can get the project back on track.

6 Steps For Getting a Project Back On Track

Openly Acknowledge the Situation

While it might not seem like openly acknowledging that the project is headed toward failure is critical, it can be essential if you want to refocus. It ensures everyone can get into a recovery mindset, allowing them to view the situation in a new light.

Reassess the Goals

At times, projects start heading south simply because the team has lost sight of the core goals. By reminding everyone of the main objectives and reasserting priorities, it creates opportunities to recenter. That makes future problem-solving easier, as everyone has their sights set on the primary purpose.

Review Communication Strategies

In many cases, poor communication is often the main reason why projects end up off the rails. Before taking other actions, review your existing communication strategies to gauge their effectiveness. Examine your collaboration platforms for efficiency and user-friendliness, and identify information silos and bottlenecks. Then, find solutions that allow for fast, efficient communication, ensuring everyone can collaborate with ease, and that project updates or changes are distributed in a timely manner.

Hold Group and One-on-One Meetings

When you’re trying to get a project back on target, using a combination of group and one-on-one meetings is vital. The team meetings allow everyone to get on the same page, gauge overall progress, and find ways to assist one another to get the project moving in the right direction. One-on-one meetings create opportunities for open discussions about how employees are feeling, where they’re struggling, and what kinds of assistance could lead to success. By using both approaches, everyone has a chance to speak in two separate contexts. This increases the odds that you’ll get insights into the broader situation and individual struggles, making it easier to find solutions to pervasive issues holding the project back.

Remain Calm as You Work the Problem

A project that’s off the rails is a stressful situation. As a leader, remaining calm is a necessity. The team is going to take cues from how you react to the scenario that’s unfolding. If you’re showing panic, anger, or fear, that boosts everyone’s stress, making a challenging situation harder to navigate. By remaining composed, you become a calming influence that helps others stay focused and optimistic, allowing them to transition into problem-solving mode more easily.

Learn from the Experience

As you work to get the project back on track, treat what happened as a learning experience. Explore why the project started heading south, identifying issues that arose or points that weren’t properly planned initially or managed along the way. That way, you can avoid a similar problem in the future, ensuring the success of future projects.

Is It Time to Update Project Management Training?

Robust training can be the key to project success. If you need to update your project management training, having a reliable learning and development (L&D) team in your corner makes a difference. At Clarity, we have nearly 30 years of experience in L&D, giving us the knowledge and expertise to update your coursework efficiently. Plus, if you’re trying to expand your internal L&D team, Clarity can be your candidate search ally, connecting you with top talent right when you need them. If you want to partner with leading L&D professionals, Clarity Consultants is here. Contact us today. This is 12 1 1  
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