Keeping an Important Project on Track

What changes can you make now to produce better results later on?

You always suspected that upgrading your IT platform, building an overseas network, or replicating your local operation nationally would be harder than anyone thought.  You were right, and you need to keep things on track to avoid costly delays.

Ask yourself:

Were your initial expectations reasonable? Did the capital expenditures and time and resource requirements match these expectations?

Did your rhetoric exceed reality? Things may be going well enough, but did overly optimistic promises heighten expectations so anything less than perfection disappoints?

Are you behind for valid reasons? For example, did you find a better way to implement that’s taking longer but will produce a much better result? Did your team have to respond to shifting conditions beyond anyone’s control? Did the conditions that prompted the project change and require adjusting the goals?

Are you getting the real story? Have you heard directly from those on the front line responsible for the project and taken their counsel on how to get things back on track?

Are you ready to take responsibility publicly and accept the scrutiny that comes with doing that? If so, how can you turn this into an opportunity to show your leadership skills and build credibility? If not, why not, and what are the implications for your reputation if you seem to blame others?

Have you set ranges, rather than finite goals, to give you and your team enough flexibility to make the best choices as implementation realities change?

Do those in charge of the project have the capabilities to execute, or were your initial perceptions of their skills and knowledge unrealistic? If so, what new talent would improve performance? Are incentives aligned and workloads balanced to encourage the effort needed?

Are you ready to spend enough time (and do your homework) to increase your personal visibility and involvement without exacerbating the situation?

Are you giving your stakeholders timely and clear visibility into project progress to avoid surprises that can damage management credibility? How can you involve skeptical fiduciaries in project oversight and win support/neutralize opposition?