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I’ve had my fair share of abandoned projects as a project manager. Some were due to a lack of resources, some to changing priorities, and some to unforeseen circumstances. Whatever the reason, abandoned projects can be a huge blow to morale and a waste of resources. However, abandoned projects can also be valuable for learning from the experiences and providing insights into how to improve future projects.
In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to deal with abandoned projects and make the most out of the situation.
Acknowledge the disappointment
According to a study by the Project Management Institute, 56% of projects fail due to poor communication. This can lead to misunderstandings, missed deadlines, and an abandoned project. It’s important to acknowledge the disappointment of an abandoned project but not dwell on it. Take time to assess what went wrong and learn from it. Remember that every failed project is an opportunity to improve and grow.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner project faced a crisis due to a series of technical and design issues. The project faced significant delays, cost overruns, and safety concerns, including battery fires. The resulting grounding of the Dreamliner by aviation authorities caused a huge financial hit to Boeing and damage to its reputation. Boeing ultimately had to undertake extensive redesigns and repairs and make significant changes to its supply chain and project management processes. Despite the challenges, the Dreamliner project eventually resumed operations and has become a successful aircraft for Boeing.
The root cause of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner project crisis was poor project management and oversight and a lack of communication and coordination between different teams and suppliers. The decision to outsource major aircraft components, including the fuselage and wings, to various suppliers worldwide, led to numerous quality control issues and delays. Additionally, changes to the original design and production schedule further complicated the project, causing significant setbacks and increasing costs. Ultimately, the project suffered from a lack of clear direction, poor communication, and insufficient oversight, all contributing to the ensuing crisis.
Conduct a post-mortem analysis
Once the initial disappointment has subsided, conducting a post-mortem analysis is important to understand what went wrong and why. This will help you identify recurring issues and develop strategies to address them. It’s also important to involve all stakeholders in the analysis to ensure everyone understands what happened and what can be done to prevent it.
Post-mortem analysis, also known as a retrospective or a project review, is a process that occurs after a project or an event has ended to evaluate what happened, why it happened, and what can be learned from the experience. The analysis aims to identify successes, failures, and opportunities for improvement and provide insights that can help inform future projects or events.
The analysis involves examining the project’s goals, objectives, and outcomes, reviewing the processes and procedures used, and gathering feedback from stakeholders, team members, and customers. The information gathered is then used to develop future improvements or action recommendations.
Keep the lines of communication open
Clear communication is key. Miscommunication is often the root cause of project failure. It is important to have a clear and open line of communication with all stakeholders involved in the project, including team members, sponsors, and clients. Clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and that potential issues are identified and addressed on time.
Define clear project goals and objectives.
Without clear goals and objectives, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a project is on track. It is important to establish clear and measurable project goals and objectives from the outset and revisit them regularly throughout the project to ensure they are still relevant and achievable.
Using Agile methodology emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. It involves breaking the project into smaller, more manageable pieces and working in short sprints to deliver incremental value. By using Agile methodology, teams can quickly adapt to changing requirements and priorities and can ensure that the project stays on track.
Have a solid project management plan.
Have a solid project management plan.
Having a solid project management plan in place is essential to the success of any project. The plan should outline the scope of the project, the timeline, the budget, and the roles and responsibilities of all team members. It should also include a risk management plan to identify and mitigate potential risks that could derail the project.
Regularly review progress and adjust course if necessary
It is important to review the project’s progress regularly and make adjustments if necessary. This involves monitoring key metrics, such as budget and timeline, and ensuring that the project is on track to meet its goals and objectives. If issues arise, it is important to address them quickly and adjust the project plan to ensure its success.
Abandoned projects can be disappointing and waste resources, but they can also provide valuable lessons and insights for future projects. It is important to acknowledge the disappointment, conduct a post-mortem analysis, keep the lines of communication open, define clear goals and objectives, have a solid project management plan, and regularly review progress and adjust course if necessary. By following these tips, project managers can learn from past mistakes and improve the chances of success for future projects. Remember that every failed project is an opportunity to grow and improve.
You may also like this article: Agile Project Management: Beginner’s Guide