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Incremental Adjustment

“The project rescue methodology required parachuting an external rescue manager, or changing the focus of an existing project manager, onto a troubled project. The first project rescue phase required a detailed assessment of the situation, including extensive team interviews and information collection and analysis. The second phase involved detailed planning around the rescue intervention.”

“The third project rescue phase, the execution phase, which is the focus of this section, involves an even more intense set of activities. As shown in the figure below, the rescue approach is likely to involve branching back to a project development methodology in order to complete the project deliverables. You will then return to the final phase of the project rescue intervention.”

“This section focuses on the key vulnerabilities that can still upset the project rescue as you follow the deetailed activities of the development methodology and rescue framework.”

What to Expect from a Project Rescue

“This section examines the common situations that can arise during a project rescue intervention. The project team is given new opportunities that are not available outside a project rescue process. Similarly, the project team potentially may encounter additional negative factors that it must guard against or resolve. Some of these factors are obvious extensions of the problems encountered in the original project, while others are manifestations of the rescue process. Both the positive and negative aspects of the rescue proecess are discussed in the following sections.”

“The latter insidious problems need strong management to bring them to the surface before they become severe, discourage the problems from manifesting themselves, and also to create a positive atmosphere that is no longer a catalyst for the problems to multiply. The key skills the rescue manager requires to enable this to happen are discussed in the sections that follow.”

Integrating the Rescue Approach

Integrating the rescue approach with a project management and development methodology

Positive Factors

“The project rescue process offers a chance at renewal – another shot at success. It offers an opportunity to call a time out, to learn from previous mistakes, and to set things right. Some of the positive factors that the project team should leverage are:

  • Constructive pressure
  • Another chance
  • Re-enegized
  • Refocused
  • Jettisoning the baggage
  • Chance for a positive contribution”

For a complete description of these factors, click here.

Negative Factors

“Time is short, pressures are high (which can have negative or positive consequences), and team confidence is lacking. While the past may have been painful, the future territory is uncertain and can be filled with both old and new problems. Key negative factors that can impact the project in the execution phase as a whole are discussed in this section. Negative factors are examined at the subphase level in subsequent sections of this area. The negative factors are:

  • Resistance to change
  • Hidden motives
  • Inaccurate information
  • Employee burnout
  • Missing skills
  • Lack of buy-in
  • Overconfidence
  • Reverting to previous bad habits”

For a complete description of these factors, click here.

Continuous Improvement Through Incremental Adjustment


Planning the project rescue is a cyclical activity; the project rescue manager must continually adjust the rescue plan using the Lead-Track-Resolve guideline described in the "Managing the Intervention" page. Projects, even ones that have been rescued, do not stand still. Requirements change to meet changing demands, new obstacles occur which require an adjustment of the plan, so the rescue manager must prepare the team to accept adjustments to the plan. For more tips and tricks on how to manage the adjustment and the team, click here.

Details of the Execution Phase

Planning the project rescue is only half the battle, and not the most difficult half at that. Executing the plan will be the most difficult, most contentious, phase of the project rescue. It starts off with an upgrade of the infrastructure. The infrastructure we're talking about here includes everything necessary to support the solution; this could include office space, desks, computers, servers, lans, wans, and software. The first step in the phase is the upgrade of that infrastructure. Once the infrastructure has been upgraded you can execute the project rescue plan. Execution will include defining the architecture, designing the software, developing the software, and testing. Once all the tests have been executed you'll need to get signoff from the relevant stakeholders and having received those signoffs, you're ready to deploy. For more tips and tricks on how to successfully execute your project rescue plan, click here.