Degree of Business Impact"Business impact can be expressed in terms of low, medium, and high with distinctions made in a number of ways. Distinguishing between low, medium, and high may involve counting the number of business functions affected, the percentage of revenue being touched, percentage of the client affected, or the number of employees being affected. Our preference is to rely on the following descriptions:
- Low impact No impact on the major businesses of the organization.
- Medium impact Impacts about 20 percent of the business of the organization.
- High impact Any project with an impact on more than 20 percent of the businesses of the organization."
"Projects that have higher impacts on the business require a higher degree of user involvement, written user signoff before launch, and a detailed contingency plan. The contingency plan needs to be tested so that it is ready to be invoked if the new solution is launched but fails in the production environment."
Degree of User Involvement"This can also be expressed in terms of low, medium, and high. Low user involvement is problematic. You can almost guarantee that anything you bring to a user is going to be changed the first time the user sees it, and maybe even a few times after this meeting. It is necessary to keep users involved throughout the project life cycle. This ideally means including users as core members of the project team. If this is not possible, they need to be included at checkpoints throughout the life cycle and their involvement needs to be guaranteed."
"If users keep changing their minds early in the project, it is highly likely that their acceptance would be much more difficult to acquire if their involvement was delayed to later phases in the project. Withholding the solution to avoid getting bogged down in early debate does not appear to be a successful mitigation strategy."
"With the continuing growth of offshore development, it is becoming more difficult to have the close proximity required between users and the development team for this sort of collaboration. More extensive documentation and conference calls can be used to bridge this gap. Collaboration tools are also emerging that can be used, but discipline and process will need to be mandated by the rescue manager for them to be useful."
Type of Client"Clients can be internal or external to an organization, depending on how a project manager defines them. Anyone who requires services can be considered a client. They can be described as newcomers, experienced, or highly sophisticated. Each of these client types offers a different set of opportunities and challenges."
"Newcomers require support, but they may be highly skeptical of the way the rescue is unfolding. They will require more extensive explanations and demonstrations before they fully buy in to what is happening."
"Experienced clients have gone through similar projects before and so may understand the project rescue direction. They may be able to provide better assistance to the rescue manager if they have not been jaded by past events. Sophisticated clients may already know exactly what they need and may just be looking for someone to implement the revised solution."
User Training Requirements"user training can be described in terms of duration, depth, content, and frequency. Values can be expressed as low, medium, and high. Team resources are often required to support or conduct user training, at least in the early phases after launch."
"Users who are not properly trained will end up causing a great deal of noise and confusion that could otherwise derail a successful launch. This training should be conducted early in the lifecycle of the project rescue. This is more likely to win the enthusiasm and support of the user community as they learn more about the project. The caveat is not to avoid conducting the training so far in advance that the information and new skills are all but forgotten by system launch time."
Previous Experience"Nothing is better than past experience. Described in terms of yes, no, and some, previous experience by team members can be leveraged to build a better approach, and can also be counted on to deliver as per an aggressive project plan."
Resource Sharing"Sharing any non-trivial resources between projects in the organization creates an overhead on top of the project duties. Sharing resources requires a serious consideration that key resources cannot be counted on to be available when the project needs them."
"Dedicated usage of key resources may be considered a prerequisite to any successful project launch. Fewer responsibilities or distractions will improve the productivity of key resources on the project. Testers, business users, architects, and project managers are often split between projects."
Team Personalities"While individual personalities can vary, teams generally end up taking on a specific mega-personality. The project rescue manager needs to use his or her leadership to turn a team into a motivated, assertive, focused unit. Other types of team personalities can exist that need to be changed:
- Jaded This team has been crushed by past failure and is pessimistic about any chances at renewal. They will be like anchors to any new approach and will need to be coaxed and prodded to believe in something else.
- Angy Instead of pessimism, this team has become angry and resentful at their lack of success. They will openly argue with each other, fight regularly, and offer lots of criticism to their teammates.
- Political This team is trying to find blame and the members are trying to position themselves to be untarnished by the lack of project success. This team will be very difficult to deal with, as the members will try to use the project rescue to their personal advantage and may try to subtly derail it.
- Anxious Members of this team are anxious about their careers, feel bad for the company, and are nervous about future prospects. They are likely open to some new ideas if the person offering them is also taking responsibility and is confident of success."