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Formulating the Project Rescue Plan

"This is a group of activities, generally owned by the rescue manager, to build a skeleton for the project plan. This will consist of identifying the core project team and establishing the high-level activities that will be followed. At this stage consider the following questions:
  • Methodology  Is the methodology being used appropriate for the project being rescued? As a validation, identify similar projects that have used the same methodology and achieved some level of success. Ensure that you are following it in the same way. Ensure that there is appropriate expertise within the team to use the methodology correctly.
  • Estimates  This is not the right time to include details around task durations, but some knowledge of how long things take will be required. Begin with past experience and interviews with team members to lay this foundation. You will look deeper into estimates in the next set of activities, but for now there are some questions to consider. How does the current project compare to similar projects that were completed before? Should a contingency factor be put into individual estimates? What are the key factors that can impact the estimates? Is the current situation better or worse than average?
  • Core team  Aside from the rescue manager, who else is committed to the project on a full-time basis? There may be many part-time commitments, but these do not count during a project rescue. Full-time involvement is mandatory from everyone deemed to be a key resource. Are the right skills available to the team? What can be done to make them better?"

At this point you should have the work broken down into work packages (1 or 2 levels below your key deliverables/milestones). This allows you to assign duration estimates and resources to the packages which will give you a sense of timeline, major activities, and an idea of the resources that will be needed during the rescue.