Last year I wrote a blog post on “Impossible Projects” highlighting that “some projects carry such great risks that they should not start! But they do”.
Once again, I was given such an opportunity…A project that, in all probability, will fail.
A couple of factors hit me initially: 1) little or no consensus between stakeholders (this may have been viewed by some as serious conflict); 2) high level requirements which were vague and inconsistent. Plus there were other factors (that I can’t go into here) that raised my concern further.
Previously I managed a project with similar challenges. In this particular case it had been necessary to tackle these challenges head-on (during the initial phase of the project). I had the luxurious and enviable position of time (time to adequately handle these challenges that I could factor into the schedule)!
Unfortunately, in this latest case, imposed deadlines meant that there was little or no room for maneuver. Certainly not the time required to massage the egos of certain key stakeholders in order to get them onboard.
In order to achieve the deadlines, this project needed to “hit the ground running” and make rapid progress thereafter. But after my initial assessment, it was all too apparent that the elements needed to expedite this project were not in place and would not be for some time. Project success was probably like a mission impossible.
Time to escalate the situation with the project sponsor. An interesting and positive conversation ensued…