Project recovery & how to go about it

By A R  |  27 Mar 2019  |  Business, Popular, Recent, Technology, backup, 

As a project manager, project recovery is one of the last things that you want to do. Unfortunately, it is sometimes pertinent and necessary to do. The “Project recovery” is associated with the process of getting an off-track delivery back under control and set it underway to successful completion.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not to fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Before we mull over the different approaches towards project recovery, it’s important to first understand the triggers which are the most usual suspects that throw the spanner into the gears.

Personal Personnel Issues

Conflict within the teams, lack of trust and clash of egos, these are the common factors that hinder effective communication. This is already tough if it happens within teams locally, imagine the havoc this phenomenon creates when it affects teams which are geographically distributed.

Inefficient communication

Lack of communication is perhaps the most rampant of triggers that successfully derail projects. Lack of communication can arise due to inefficient communication where the right information is not reaching the right person at the right time. Inefficient and ineffective communication creates a disconnect between the stakeholders and the team downstream resulting in delays and reworks.

Ineffective Planning

Simple. Clear. Concise. A project plant that does not live by these 3 words is doomed to fail from the beginning. The project plan must take into account the mission goals, objectives and major milestones in simple and clear form. All KRAs must have precise KPIs and the ad must be documented concisely for the team to understand and to refer to. If you consider the Agile ideology, the focus is on creating a minimum viable product with incremental improvements and value additions (in iterations) is a great way to eat the project in chunks and to improve the plan with each iteration.


A tight scope goes a long way towards ensuring that the teams know what needs to be done and what needs to be left out. The document sets out clear boundaries on cost, time and desired results for the team to refer to. The absence of a tight scope can result in work and energy on futile tasks.

Inconsistent Reporting

Proper reporting is at the core of an elite project manager. Reports need to be on time and must report the current status with clarity. Reports which are verbal, inaccessible and those which don't have mission projections Vs Mission status can dangerously blow the mission off course.

Recovery Techniques

Now that we are a bit well versed with the triggers that can derail a project, here are some techniques that you can use to wrestle the project back on track.

Before we begin, it’s important to consider the possibility and the plausibility. What’s possible is not always plausible and what's plausible is not always possible without extensive cost and time overruns. You must ask the benefits of trying to recovery over starting out afresh. If the answers you get are legit enough to warrant a recovery then read on.

Good old fashioned man power

Over time. Stout coffee and longer hours of keyboard mashing may be unavoidable to get the project timelines under control. As a project manager, if it does fall on you to steer your team through this, you must be prepared to do “controlled burns”, where your team does over time for a fixed period of time. Uncontrolled overtime saps energy and morale quickly and must be avoided at all costs.

Run parallel

Identify serial and parallel processes in your project. Try to tackle parts if not the whole of the serial processes parallel. Such partial overlapping will allow you to do more in lesser time.

Scope reductions & changes

Review the scope of the original project. It is not uncommon to discover over ambitions timelines at the core of derailed projects. If you do determine that the original scope was beefy, then you must rescope the project and reduce the scope wherever necessary to fit the goals. The new scope statement is holy and must not be altered or changed. As a project manager, it’s your duty to say no to changes in scope. A project that doesn't have the scope in complete lockdown will inevitably fail. Iterative delivery is one of the techniques that you can utilise to manage a dynamic scope.


As someone responsible for project recovery, you must be intelligent enough to recognise when you need help and level headed enough to seek that help. Outsourcing can help immensely in project recovery scenarios as contractors bring with them independent objectivity and expertise which can be of immense help in getting the project back in order.

In our experience as a leading enterprise software service integrators in Dubai, we can tell you with complete surety that the only policy to avoid costly project derailments is proper planning and due diligence.

Projects are most vulnerable at the beginning when the scope is being set, reporting channels are being established and teams are being doped with information. With this understanding, we at Evomatiq Business Solutions use the best project management practices and project management platform in the industry to ensure smooth project deliveries.

Learn more about what we do, click here.  

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