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The Patient Is Recovering Nicely, Thank You

Heart_rateYes, it's true.  Iowabiz.com is back up and running, thanks to new sponsorship of The Business Record.  I'm excited to be back in the saddle (although having a couple of months off with one less blog was a nice reprieve).

I've written in the past about effective project recovery and rescue techniques, and I've learned a thing or two about getting a flailing project back on its feet.  It's been interesting watching Drew McLellan and the Business Record folks as they breathe life back into Iowabiz, and it brings to light an interesting aspect of project recovery:  PUBLICITY.

Yes, every project manager knows (or should know) that 90% of effective project management is communication.  Stakeholder communication becomes even more critical when dealing with a project recovery.  Merely having a recovery plan isn't good enough; it has to be communicated and sold to those who endured the originally failed project.  So communication in and of itself isn't enough.  You now have to SELL, SELL, SELL your project as never before.  As Amy Alberg of the Making Things Happen blog states:

The next stage is to develop your project recovery plan and sell it to the team, stakeholders, customers, suppliers etc that may be part of project. Begin your planning and communication with a healthy dose of reality. If something should have worked based on X assumption and it wasn’t, don’t continue to assume it will and determine a viable alternative. The recovery plan itself will vary widely based on the size, scope and type of project you are working on. Basic elements are issue statement, root cause, impact, resources required, short term actions, long term actions, date fix will be in place, who the accountable person will be. If there are multiple options, than lay those out without playing the blame game so decision can be made. This will take strong communication and salesmanship to convince all parties that this project will be successful and ensure strong support needed. At this point, you may be communicated with a frustrated team, angry customers, internal political battles, competing agendas, etc so be deliberate in crafting your message.

One of the big lessons I've observed watching the Business Record that every project manager could learn is that one communication channel/medium isn't enough.  It's a publicity full-court press.  Don't assume that a blanket email will cover everybody's communication needs.  Hold a "town hall" meeting.  Schedule one-on-one's with key decision-makers.  Set up an internal website or blog or Facebook group to carry on an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders.  Heck, perform an interpretive dance in the company lobby if it will get people's attention (just don't put your CFO in a tutu - I hear he doesn't have the legs for it).

Remember, you want people to be well informed that 1) the project is being recovered, and 2) you have things well under control.

Welcome back, Iowabiz!

Carpe Factum!


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Nice points Tim. I am sure it is great for the stakeholders to know your song and dance means things are back on track.

Of course, a good "song and dance" only goes so far to building credibility, Pete. There'd better be sufficient tango or the project will be playing taps.

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