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Rescue the Problem Project

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

Rescue the Problem Project Book Cover

by Todd C. Williams
ISBN: 9780814416822
(AMACOM Books, 2011)

Todd's first book delivers twenty-five years of project rescue experience. Unlike other books on the subject, Rescue the Problem Project focuses on the process to rescue the project. This is the critical few weeks that transform a failing project to a successful project. Other processes blindly layer processes on top of a project without finding the cause of the failure. Rescue the Problem Project focuses on root cause analysis to determine the source of problems and solve them once and for all.

The book starts by discussing the biggest hurdle in rescuing a project—realization that there is a problem—and proceeds though detailed discussion of the four step process to recover them—audit, analysis, negotiate, and execute. In addition, it includes a complete discussion of four key processes to prevent failure.

Most companies (and books) focus on process and technology, forgetting about the people involved. Rescue the Problem Project realigns that model and stresses the importance of people over process and technology. It covers investigation and analysis of issues with people, technology, and process, providing time-tested methods to correct problems so they never reoccur.

It describes a tried and tested approach that:

  • Helps everyone in the project understand the root causes. Everyone in the project needs to understand how to determine the source of problems. To bring a project successfully back from red, one must step past the symptoms and find problems’ root causes. By correcting problems at their source:
    • Recovered projects become successful projects.
    • The organization avoids repeating the failure.
  • Defines a recovery process to facilitate the required negotiation. This is essential since the recovery manager works as a mediator between all project stakeholders to negotiate the recovery plan. Rescue the Problem Project discusses how to focus skills in management, leadership, and negotiation to uncover the problems with red projects and coordinate customers, managers, and teams to correct the project.
  • Is objective, thorough and methodical. Taking an objective approach calms the situation replacing emotion with fact. Although other books deal with this by recommending the project follow a strict set of procedures, they omit the techniques for objectively assessing the technology, people and applicability of the process they recommend implementing.
  • Provides a holistic approach. The steps of auditing, acquire the data to create a plan; analyzing, formulate the plan; negotiating, sell the plan and executing, implement the plan to create a successful project are a holistic approach to addressing the problems with the project. The process was developed and tuned through years of experience in rescuing projects.
  • Defines the recovery manager as a mediator. Defining the recovery manager as a mediator is a common sense approach very different from other methods. To make the project viable changes are required. Stakeholders that have different goals and objectives must be sold on, negotiated with and approve those changes.
  • Educates the reader on how to prevent red projects. By knowing the reasons projects fail, the reader understands how to prevent the occurrence.

The book contains:

  • Sixty-nine case studies to show how it worked in real life
  • Twenty illustrations clarify points
  • Twenty-two tables for clear and concise presentation of information

Feel free to browse the books Table of Contents.

Rescue the Problem Project is due for publication in the March of 2011, by AMACOM Books, the publishing division of the American Management Association.

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