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While it is obviously a last resort, there are times when it’s necessary to gracefully kill a project vs. allow it to continue its terrifying one way journey towards oblivion.

However, well before that becomes a possibility, project managers need to pull out the jaws of life, grab a defibrillator, and administer some CPR — because if the project management gods are on their side, they’ll be able to breathe life back into a dying project. Here are five steps that could pave the way to resurrection and recovery:

  • Gather Information

Use collaborative work management tools to consult with key stakeholders, and collect information to get a complete — or at least, as complete as possible — picture of what has happened, what is happening now, and what is likely to happen in the future.

  • Identify Root Causes

Once project managers know what they’re up against, the next to step is to analyze the data and identify root causes. It’s important to highlight that this isn’t a post mortem (that comes later). The point here is to ensure that any proposed solution has a good chance of addressing the actual problems. Or else, like weeds, they’ll just crop up again — and be harder to deal with.

  • Brainstorm Solutions

Speaking of solutions: project managers should brainstorm with key stakeholders. It’s critical to involve the sponsor in this process; especially if the project needs to be re-prioritized in the portfolio, or if resources that have been diverted elsewhere need to be pulled back onto the roster.

  1. Re-Create the Project  

Project managers should resist all efforts to “tweak” the existing project, because projects that come perilously close to destruction aren’t “tweakable” — they need to be rebuilt. This doesn’t mean that core pieces of the plan, scope, schedule and budget can’t be salvaged. But it does indeed mean that everyone has to grasp that, going forward, it’s a whole new ball game with new rules, points of reference, expectations, objectives, and possibly even methodologies as well. Using the right project management software is essential, and will go a long way to determining whether the Project Redux survives or dies.

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The Aftermath: Look Back and Learn

Regardless of whether the project is saved — or must be shut down — project managers, together with other leaders, should identify lessons learned and apply them in the future. After all, learning from mistakes is always profitable (although learning from other people’s mistakes is more fun.).

Make Project Success the Norm — not the Exception

Clarizen’s award winning cloud-based portfolio and project management (PPM) solution turns project planning from a risky, costly and tedious challenge into a core competence and competitive advantage. Discover the measurable rewards of collaborative work management, automated demand management, and advanced resource planning tools in your enterprise. Launch you fully-fledged 30-days trial of Clarizen today, or schedule your live guided demo.