In Part 1 of this two part series on stopping to replan a troubled implementation, we began looking at the reasons to take such action as well as the major impacts to a project for doing so. Now let’s look ahead to what our resource, data and feedback requirements will be in order to get replanned and restarted on the right course to project success.
Determine resource requirements and their availability for resource planning?
Any replanning effort is going to require you to revisit the resource plan for your project. If timeframes shift, then key resources may not be available for the full duration of your project and you may need to start looking for new or additional resources early to be proactive. Rework the resource plan and forecast and ensure that you’ll have the right resources and skill sets available when you need them according to your reworked project schedule.
Determine the data and information requirements for replanning?
If the data needs and information needs for the project change due to the replanning, make sure you and your team fully understand this and are ready to deliver. This goes back to revisiting the requirements in enough detail to really understand what the problem, issue, or change means to what you are creating and providing on the project. If you don’t analyze the replanning effort enough, you risk not having the proper information in place on the project when you and your customer need it.
Obtain input from all of the people affected by the replanning?
Remember that you are not a one-man band. Involve your full team, involve the customer and their project team. And definitely involve the customer’s end users and subject matter experts (SMEs). You don’t want to head off in a new direction – even if that new direction comes from the customer and means more revenue – without addressing it with everyone involved. Because you can still risk delivering a solution that doesn’t meet end user needs.
Obtain feedback from all the affected people once the new plans went into effect?
This one is important. Once you, your team, the customer, and the entire project are all on board with the replanning and heading in the new direction, don’t get too comfortable. With any replanning and redirection effort comes new risks. Revisit how things are going in depth – not just from a weekly status call perspective – on an ongoing basis….. especially for the first couple of months. Get everyone’s perspective and make sure not only that everyone is satisfied with the new plans, but that they are indeed working and you are on the right path for the project.
Halting operations on a project implementation can seem like a career-killer and/or the end of the world. It can drive project customers crazy and push CEOs to the point of calling you into their office and consider asking you for your resignation. But sometimes it is the best thing for the project and possibly the only way to salvage the implementation. I have had to do it on two major projects during my career – both projects were “inherited” projects. It wasn’t the end of the world and it certainly proved to be the right move – and basically the only move – to help ensure project success. Done correctly, it will help your customer jump back on board with confidence as you move forward toward a successful end solution.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences with such troubled implementations and pauses to rethink and replan.