Two out of three projects run – as far as I see, and which is attested by renowned research since years – into a project recovery, at least they should. As a consequence budget cuts take place, usually with external, supposedly expensive staff – which is ok if they didn’t a fair job – , and new, young, and inexperienced internal people, who only cost a third, shall then lead and execute the newly initiated project to the end. This is supposed to fail, and it will prove to fail! Up to a total Write-off. Only because always money plays the predominant role, not the result?!!! Do you recognize the scheme? This is unprofessional and would have never happened at a recovery attempt for the company. And yet it would be so easy to avoid…
A project recovery, done professionally, does cost so much less than a distressed project continued with insufficient means, which additionally demotivates or even scares off well educated employees. And on top it will not even earn a minimum of business benefits if cancelled, only a write-off.
So why do managers only reluctantly get themselves external help?
Internal directions or restrictions? German error culture? Wo likes to admit that his team is working “insufficiently”… The crux unfortunately is often the fact that management does not think (or isn’t allowed to think) free and entrepreneurially concerning external cost. We have a given personnel, and if that is not working right, we train them, a mentor is put at aid, we escalate, track closer … but nobody has the idea to look externally for a project management professional to support.
Here are the prejudices to refute:
- Externals need long ramp up, are not productive fast enough
- Externals don’t know the internal organization (and need to be doubled with an internal)
- Externals don’t know the internal processes (and need to be doubled with an internal)
- We don’t have a guarantee that the External can solve our problems
They may apply for external consultants because consulting services are designed by nature to dig thoroughly into the topic, and then stay as long as possible with the customer – I experienced that myself earlier in the my time with a big company in the industry. But there are different starting situations and rules with a project revision or even recovery. It’s comparable to a firefight:
- What’s available least, is time. The external must be able to act extremely fast. Good (freelance) project managers are trimmed to be that, me as project doctor anyway.
- As a firefighter first thing to do is to send all spectators to the back to have the goings-on open in front of you. No double, no internal organization and structures – they would only be a bar, but they are needed at hand for focused interviews and analysis, short and concentrated.
- The internal processes and often the structures, too, have led to the fire. After the interviews they are professionally analyzed with skillful eyes, judged, and recommended for changing as necessary, not doubled for continuation. The external is not routine blinded, in contrary has many good and bad comparable experience. And he doesn’t need to care for his internal career when addressing uncomfortable facts neutrally.
- Well, the only guarantee you have is that you will drown without him (due to missing internal firefighting knowhow). The earlier you call him, the more options you have to succeed.
- Whether the operative recovery (the fire extinction) with the recommendations found in the revision is done again internally or with my guidance – that’s another decision then. It is important that extinction measures are installed and available fast and at the right attack points.
The External is even “cheaper”
Well, and by the way: Because everything hast o happen that fast, the „expensive“ (external) Project Doctor doesn’t cost money that long, if anything, it is always more favorable than keeping up burning expensively or even risking to leave scorched earth behind. What remains still is the fear to have a mistake interpreted as weakness. What if (as elsewhere) you can earn special credit points for being a big hitter, a problem solver, and a strategic thinker…