In our last 2 posts, we discussed the signs that your project may be in trouble and offered some high-level guidance on what to do to help save your failing project. If you are in the unfortunate situation where it is clear that you have a failing development project, it is time to get organized and get the project back on track. One of the first things to do is build a checklist that your organization can work through to start to turn the corner. Some of the items on that checklist should include the following:
- Creating a clear definition of what the product needs to do. Revisit the original concept where you started. Can you clearly state and document what the product you are developing needs to do?
- Understand the deficiencies of the current design (i.e. what’s failing). Points of failure are not often easy to pinpoint, specifically in complex products with hardware, software, embedded technologies or vision. Sometimes what you think is the point of failure is actually a downstream effect of a different issue. Taking the time to review the current design in detail can help pinpoint where the failures are happening.
- Communicating with upper management and investors to facilitate the changes that are going to have to take place to make it a success. These are hard conversations, but they have to happen to get the necessary buy-in to get back on track.
We’ve talked with companies who have come to us after it was clear they had a failing development project. For them, reality had set in and the result was a more pragmatic approach. They accepted that their original schedule was un-achievable and the previously spent budget was lost. They adapted and were willing to “upset the apple cart” and change how things had been done to this point.
Companies need to make it through this checklist to reach the point where they can make informed decisions on whether to change the current partner, augment them, or take other steps. With reset product definition and buy-in at the highest levels, a new plan can be assembled and aligned to the right people and partners.
Successfully saving a failing development project is about getting the people, process, and communication aligned. A strategy can then be built to get the product through development and ready to manufacture.
Resolution regularly works with companies caught in the midst of a failing development project. We understand the difficult decisions and conversations that have must occur to re-align expectations and get the project back on track. Our 911 Project Rescue Service is specifically designed to help.