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Building the Project Rescue Plan

"We're going to examine a number of different approaches for building the rescue plan later in this section, but consider some of the potential problems and tradeoffs that you will need to address in the process:

  • Level of detail  What is the right level of detail? Too little detail, and the plan is little more than guidelines. Too much detail and the plan may not get finished in time. It might become too much work to maintain. It might be impossible to understand. Should you identify activities that are a week in duration? A day? An hour? A few hours? Is time even the right measurement? There are many real world examples in which months and months were spent building detailed project plans only to be thrown out because they were too cumbersome to maintain.
  • Skill sets  How do you ensure that the resources will have the correct level of skills? What are the specific skills? What are the complementary skills? What are the compromises and offsets? Where is the training going to come from? At what cost? How frequently?
  • Estimates  Let's get back to the difficulty of working with estimates. How do you rely on an inexact science for something as important as a rescue plan? Try and work with ranges. Try and maintain some level of contingency across the project. Continually adjust estimates as you go forward in the rescue intervention. New information will allow the estimates to be refined with more accuracy. The contingency may be required to offset initial inaccuracies.
  • Commitments  How can you commit resources to certain events that may be weeks or months away? What personal or professional conflicts will involve them? What happens if you miss a key commitment? Where should duplicate resources be retained to prevent a worst-case scenario?
  • Third parties  How do you get third parties to give you their best work and dedication without getting into detailed financial negotiations and contractual obligations too early in the project. The more desperate you are, the more expensive they may become. Counting on their professionalism and long-term relationship prospects will be worth highlighting to the third parties.

Validating the Plan

"Walk through the rescue plan to collect further input and information from the extended team members. Be clear about the assumptions that are being made to accommodate the plan and what needs to be done to make them accurate. Use the techniques and procedures discussed in earlier chapters to facilitate this information capture.