How to Survive a Project Management Crisis
Your customers raised a problem with the top management without any clear reason. They will cancel the project and revoke a contract. Your boss has called an emergency meeting. What should a project manager do in this situation? [iStock/Nastco]I once faced a project management crisis due to client dissatisfaction. It accumulated for almost a year. It was not obvious to me.
It took us more than three months to complete the project. We were able to complete the project, keep our client, and learn important lessons.
Today, I want you to see the action plan that has helped me to survive many crises.
Project Management Crisis: The Root Cause
It comes down to a few key root causes. It may seem that there are many unique and exceptional cases. All of these can be controlled by the four aspects listed below.
1. Failed Expectations
It could be a simple mistake that was discovered too late. Each stakeholder has a different view of how the project should work. They want to see a certain delivery or achieve a certain milestone. Even if you don’t promise one, they will be disappointed. You must ensure that they know exactly what and when they will receive it.
It is possible that there might be a discrepancy in the sales promises and the actual performance. Expect to fail if you are given a project that has a deadline or budget that is too short.
Even if you meet all requirements, there is always a chance that the final product will not meet client expectations. This is because clients have to constantly adjust their vision of the final product.
2. Poor Communication
Everything is in order. The project is moving according to plan. The customer is not happy.
How does it happen?
Stakeholders make commitments to their superiors. Sponsors care about the investments. However, they don’t have a clear view of the project’s life. They are often far from the project team, especially if they are distant.
They make up for what they don’t understand with their imagination. It is important to face it. Our minds are very pessimistic. It tends to first draw disaster scenarios. The stakeholder begin to feel nervous.
Even seasoned executives and businessmen can experience it. What should you do?
Stakeholders need to have a clear understanding of the project. They need to know what is happening daily on the project. However, you must generalize the daily work and group it into transparent processes.
How do you do this? Yes, constant communication.
3. New Key Stakeholders
It could be a new stakeholder. It could be a new stakeholder or someone who gains authority or power quickly over your project.
You failed to anticipate and manage it in any case.
The first step is to be able to understand the context of the project and take control. There is a lot of information and actives. I can assure you that there are many aspects of your project that they will find frightening.
They will therefore increase.
However, they might have additional requirements that your plan did not account for.
4. Unfair Conduct
Many people don’t understand the benefits of win/win relationships. They are more likely to get more for their money. They will therefore tend to take advantage of contractual obligations and penalties.
You may also need to work with a client’s manager. In some cases, he or she may not be ethical. They will at least try to cover your backs.
Expect escalations at every opportunity.
Action Plan for the Crisis
This plan can be used if you are already in a crisis of project management. You can also use this plan to prevent one.
1. Recognize the Crisis
Send an email and confirm that you have acknowledged the crisis. Although you may not yet have all the details, ensure that your customers know.