Recovery Workshop Gets Project Back On Track

Dave knows he needs to act fast to save the project — and quite possibly, his career — from imminent disaster. He calls for a two-day emergency session starting tomorrow at 8 a.m. sharp and adjourns the meeting to prepare.

He enlists the help of Sally McGuire, an ace facilitator from Human Resources, who drops everything to bail out Dave, an old friend who has helped her in the past.

Together, they review the steps Dave needs to take, along with the intended outcome. Given the urgent nature of Dave's "Project Recovery Workshop," he must compress these steps into just a few hours, rather than the few days that would typically be needed.

1. Dave meets informally with a few key team members and solicits their input regarding what elements they consider most critical for a successful project recovery workshop. Based on these conversations, Dave creates a draft agenda (see Exhibit 3).

2. He sits down with Belinda and with the key business sponsor for the ERP project and works with them to map out an executive project overview document (Exhibit 5), ensuring that they agree with the workshop objectives and the agenda. Dave secures their commitment to kick off the session, reviewing key points and assigning each a precise time slot.

Exhibit 5. Workshop Overview Document


PURPOSE: To evaluate the current ERP project environment and build a revised project plan and processes to ensure successful completion


Team Members

Project Definition — nondefinition factors

Reality check (Where are we now?)

Revised Project Plan

Schedule and deliverables


Roles and responsibilities

Priority-setting mechanism

Executive commitee involvement

Critical Succes Factors

Contingency Plan

Communication Plan

Within the project team For executive commitee To business units To external stakeholders

Problem-resolution process

Next Steps (Action plan for 30 days and 60 days)

Exclusions: War Stories References to specific individuals


Every member of the team will contribute to and agree to support the Revised Project Plan.

Each individual on the project team will know how key processes are to be managed (such as priority setting, contingency planning, communication, problem resolution).

There will be a clear Action Plan to move forward from this session. ASSUMPTIONS

The project deadline is fixed; no further time extension is possible The current budget is approved; the Revised Project Plan is not expected to increase the cost of implementing ERP.

The selected vendor is contracted to deliver the porduct; no alternatives will be considered.

The skills required to complete this project exist in the current team members.


Dave Doyle

14 full-time team members 6 of the "extended" IT porfessionals

1 vendor rep

2 business reps (HR and Marketing) 1 document manager

1 (trained and experienced) facilitator

3. Based on the objectives, Dave realizes that he should include not only the core team members and all remote team members, but also one or two representatives from key business units. He also realizes that because he himself must contribute fully to the discussions, he needs a skilled facilitator to keep the meeting on track and ensure that objectives are met. Sally has already agreed to perform this role. He also needs a document manager whose job is to capture and communicate all workshop output. Dave taps a newly minted junior project leader for the task.

4. Dave sends each participant an e-mail, which includes the workshop overview document as well as a personal message, underscoring how important this workshop will be to the success of the project. This session will also set the stage for more such sessions as an important forum for ongoing communication. He attaches the project proposal Belinda had created for the executive committee, as well as a memo from the CEO, discussing how vital this project is for the success of the company.

5. Dave asks his administrative assistant to arrange for a comfortable working space removed from the office, with plenty of light, a U-shaped table, lots of flip charts and wall space, and adjustable temperature settings. His assistant also arranges for copies of all needed documents and audiovisual equipment and supplies.

6. At 8 a.m. the next day, Dave welcomes the team and relaxes perceptibly as Belinda and the business sponsor kick off the day with an inspiring vision of what Cenemex can become with the new ERP application. Looking around the room at his newly energized team, Dave knows that he can count on Sally to capitalize on the momentum and lead the team on the first step of a successful recovery.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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