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Table of Contents

Rescue the Problem Project

A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure

by Todd C. Williams

PART I Understanding the Process
and Realizing there is a Problem

Rescue the Problem Project Book Cover

Chapter 1 The Basics of the Recovery Process

The Context of a Project
Understanding Project Success
What Is a Red Project?
What Is Project Failure?
What Is Project Recovery?
The Recovery Process
Roles in the Extended Project Structure
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 2 Realizing a Project Is Problematic: Management's Responsibilities

Declaring a Project Red
Traits of a Good Recovery Manager
The Relationship of the Candidate Recovery Manager to the Project
The Benefits of Involving a Third Party
Creating the Assignment's Statement of Work
Defining the Responsibilities by Phase in the SOW
Establishing the Recovery Manager's Authority
Accepting the Role as a Recovery Manager
Creating an Outline of the Recovery
Chapter Takeaway

PART II Auditing the Project: Understanding the Issues

Chapter 3 Assessing the Human Role in Project Failure

Who Should Be Interviewed?
Interviewing the People Involved in the Project
Interviewing Techniques
Dealing with People Who Refuse to Talk
Interviewing Management
Interviewing Subcontractors
Interviewing the Customer
Interviewing End Users
Remote Teams, Time Zones, and Workweeks
Assessing the Effect of Cultural Differences
Assessing the Applicability of Core Processes
The Outcome of the Interview Process
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 4 Auditing Scope on a Red Project

Determining the Efficacy of Change Management
Auditing the Completeness of the Project Documentation
Scope Creep Induced by the Project Team
Saying No to Limit Scope Creep
Dealing with Demanding Customers
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 5 Determining Timeline Constraints


Confirming the Project's Triple Constraints
Validating the Schedule's Derivation
Issues to Investigate on Estimation Methods
Understanding How Team Progress Is Reported
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 6 Examining Technology's Effect on the Project

The Importance of Technical Expertise in the Audit
Understanding the Technology Goals of the Project
Understanding Architects' Biases
Assessing Technology's Effects on the Team's Behavior
Assessing the Team's Capability With a Technology
Evaluating Make-Buy Options
Chapter Takeaway

PART III Analyzing the Data: Planning for Project Recovery

Chapter 7 Determining and Initiating Remedial Action

The Audit Report
Determining Whether to Continue or Cancel the Project
Transitioning from the Auditor's Role to Taking Charge
Planning the Right Level of Process for the Project
Requiring Meeting Minutes
Implementing a Change Management Process
Developing a Thorough Understanding of Project Risk
Tracking Contingency
Creating a Short Horizon Schedule
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 8 Building an Extended Project Team

Being Realistic About the Team's Ability
Actions on the Team
Canceling Overtime
Handling Team Members Who Are Prima Donnas
Dealing with Management Problems
Developing Plans with Subcontractors
Boosting Morale with an Early Win for the Team
Improving Communication with all Stakeholders
Preparing to Negotiate with Management
Steering Committee and Status Meetings
Debunking Myths and Promoting the Project
Communicating with the Project Team
Communication Guidelines
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 9 Considering Options for Realigning Technology

General Issues to Consider When Assessing Technology
Dealing with Technology Induced Scope Creep
Developing Custom Technology Components
Handling Issues with Common-off-the-Shelf Products
Resolving Conflicts between Business Goals and Technology Implementation
Environments for Building and Testing the Project's Product
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 10 Assessing How Methodology Affects the Project

Methods of Developing Schedules and Estimates
Gathering Project Progress Estimates
A Hypothetical Example for Comparing Methodologies
Phasing the Hypothetical Project's Deliverables
Using Agile in the Hypothetical Project
Using Critical Chain in the Hypothetical Project
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 11 How Agile Methodology Can Assist in a Recovery

Agile Methodology's Basics
An Agile Project's Lifecycle
The Effect of Project Size on Agile Projects
A Critic's View of Agile
How a Partial Implementation of Agile Can Be Achieved
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 12 How Critical Chain Methodology Can Assist in a Recovery

Understanding the Theory of Constraints
Understanding the Principles of Critical Chain
Differences in Doing Scheduling Estimates in Critical Chain
Optimizing Resource Utilization
Using Critical Chain for all Projects Sharing the Same Resources
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 13 Comparing the Relative Value of Methodologies for Project Recovery

Change Management
Customer Relationship
Project Constraints
Project Manager
Subcontractor Relations
Team Focus
Team Members
Chapter Takeaway

PART IV Negotiating a Solution: Proposing Workable Resolutions

Chapter 14 Proposing and Getting Agreement on a Recovery Plan


The Process of Negotiation
Project Items That Are Not Part of the Negotiation
The Goal of Any Negotiation
Failing to Deliver Functionality: The Consequence of Failure
Offsetting Removed Functionality: The Wish List
The Goal of the Negotiation
Compiling a Complete Negotiation Package
Preparing the Information for Presentation
Preparing the Attendees for the Meeting
Selecting the Venue and Preparing the Agenda
Variations on the Meeting Goals
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 15 Dealing with "Unprojects"

What to Do When Maintenance is Part of a Project
How Data Utilized by a Project Is Handled
Problems When Mixing Strategic Initiatives and Tactical Projects
Chapter Takeaway

PART V Executing the New Plan: Implementing the Solutions

Chapter 16 Implementing Corrective Actions and Executing the Plan

Implementing Corrective Actions
Special Problems That Exist on Recovered Projects
Old Problems Reoccurring
Root Causes That Were Missed
Dealing with People's Perception of a Failed Project
Management's Overreaction to Small Problems
New Scope Creep
Chapter Takeaway

PART VI Doing It Right the First Time: Avoiding Problems That Lead to Red Projects

Chapter 17 Properly Defining a Project's Initiation

Customer Inception: When the Project and the Problems Really Start
Using a Guidance Team to Smooth Project Start
Improvements to Project Proposals and Charters
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 18 Assembling the Right Team

Constructing the Team
The Project's Management Team
The Dangers of Reusing Teams on New Projects
Ensuring the Team Is Competent
Team Considerations When Using New Technology
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 19 Properly Dealing with Risk

How Understanding Risk Can Help Projects
A Real Project Scenario
Using a Real Project Scenario to Understand Risk
Quantifying Risk in the Sample Scenario
Representing Unquantifiable Risk
Correctly Classifying Risk for Proper Analysis
Determining the Budgeted Cost for Risk
Determining the Event's Probability
The Impact if a Risk Fires
Tools for Calculating Risk's Impact
Chapter Takeaway

Chapter 20 Implementing Effective Change Management

Properly Handling Change During a Project
Minimizing the Impact of Change in a Project
Defining and Processing a Change Request
The Five Sections of a Change Request Form
Tracking Change Requests in a Log
Chapter Takeaway


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