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Help! I’m Taking Over a Failing Project

What should you do when you take over a project that has been going wrong? One of our candidates was given a project and needed to produce a presentation for the Managing Director about the project in terms of where is stands, what went wrong and what his plans were to get it back on track. The previous project manager had agreed variables, timescales and a project plan but had off ill for two weeks with no contact with the client. Colin Bentley, former PRINCE2 Chief Examiner, offered this advice about how to tackle the presentation.

“I would have three parts to the presentation. First would be the state of the project at the time the project manager went sick - was it on target, what if any were the problems, what was the state of open issues, risks, and what work was in progress? The second would be the state now - same questions; the third would be what you propose to do over the next period of time, maybe two weeks or a month. You would have to decide how long you need to recover any lost time or deal with problems and how long the Project Board is willing to give you to see any improvement. Of course, you may find that everything is going along nicely - but I doubt it.

I think you should also look at the state of the Project Plan, Business Case, current Stage Plan, the project organization and the way in which matters such as issue capture and analysis and risk management are being handled and make proposals if they are not following PRINCE2 guidance.”

Do you have any stories of taking over a failing project? Let us know how you dealt with it using the comment boxes.

Posted in Project Mgmt.

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