These turnaround projects are all the more challenging because they must be completed faster and at lower cost than the original project envisioned, and tension is already high at the beginning of the project.
How can we turn the project around? Each case is different, but some common approaches are:
1. Reduce the size of the project team. A large team can be a hindrance as time spent on communication increases. A team is often slowed down by the slowest team member.
2. Use a team that has worked together before. Successful teams have strong cohesion and know each others' strengths and weaknesses.
3. Create a single client point of contact. Conflicting requirements and feedback can paralyze a software project, and internal client communication and approvals also slow down the process.
4. Abandon failed approaches. Sometimes a project team finds it hard to disregard sunk costs, and sticks with an unsuccessful technical approach too long.
5. Change the project methodology. If your project approach is more about deflecting blame than shipping a working product, it can undermine results. We have seen many projects with lengthy and well formatted documentation accompanying broken products.
6. Remember the iron triangle which forces tradeoffs among features, cost and schedule. Like the laws of physics, this can only be ignored at your peril.