7 Project Recovery Tips for In-House Software Development Gone Off Track

Feb 12, 2019 by Matt Dixon

In any software development project, it's easy for things to get off track. Maybe your team's lost sight of the original goals of the project. Or perhaps you've simply planned for too many features for the project to be viable.

For project recovery, management is key to getting things back on track. For your company in Denver or Colorado Springs, it's certainly doable to get things back up and running again. Here are 7 project recovery tips to help you out.

1. Learn to See the Warning Signs

One of the key aspects of project recovery is recognizing when a project's started to get off track. The earlier you recognize these kinds of problems and the earlier you tackle them, the more likely you are to save the project from disaster.

Throughout the project, you should be getting regular status updates. Having short, daily stand-up meetings can help your team members recognize if the project has fallen behind early on.

Everyone should be aware of what their responsibilities are and the schedule you're trying to stick to. Keeping track of a project these days is easy if you use project management software to keep an eye on things.

2. Find Out Why the Project Is Off Track

While it's important to keep your software project running at the right pace, you should be wary of panicking and rushing things. When a problem emerges, many project managers get tunnel vision and focus on getting back on schedule at all costs. Unfortunately, this can lead to you losing sight of why the project got off track in the first place.

You need to get back on schedule, but you also need to figure out why exactly you got off it in the first place. If you fail to determine the cause of the problem, you open yourself up to the same problem happening again.

This kind of scenario can be challenging for a manager, as your team members may start to blame one another for the problem. As the boss, it's your job to remain impartial and diplomatic.

3. Look at Your Team

First of all, you need to hire the right people for the job. When a project gets derailed, you might be tempted to put more of your people to work on it and attempt to get development back on track.

In most cases, this is a classic mistake. Have you ever heard the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth"? Well, this is especially true in software development.

Instead, focus on the people already working on the software. Are the right people assigned to the right tasks? Maybe you can shift someone from one part of the project to another.

Try asking your team members how they feel about their roles in the project. Some of them may feel more suited for another role.

4. Consider Your Initial Plan

When a software development project goes wrong, sometimes it helps to take a step back and examine your original plan.

Has the project deviated too far from what was originally envisioned? Maybe the initial ideas for the project don't make as much sense now that you've worked on it for a while.

Is your project still going to deliver what you set out to do? If this seems like an impossibility, it might be wise to consider canceling the project altogether.

Of course, in a lot of situations, this is simply not an option. In this case, you need to figure out the most straightforward way to get the project back on track.

5. Can You Drop Any Features or Downscale?

Many software development projects are simply too ambitious. You might try and produce a piece of software that has too many features or you might be trying to make an interface that's too flashy.

If it seems like you're not going to deliver the project on time, you need to take a look at the features of the project and determine if there's anything you can afford to scale down on.

6. Implement Sprints

 

Implementing scrum sprints can be immensely helpful in keeping your project on track. Have a meeting with your team and product owner and agree on what can reasonably be accomplished in two weeks. Then, at the end of the sprint, everyone (including the product owner) can review what's been done.

Scrums help provide transparency in a project. With multiple short-term goals set, it's easier to hit milestones than in a long-term schedule. It also lets you put anything not accomplished into a backlog so those can be prioritized for the next sprint.

7. Talk to the Product Owner

You should keep an open line of communication with the product owner about issues with the project. If it looks like you're not going to be able to deliver the project on time, they should know so your team and the product owner can work on a productive outcome.

When you open up a dialogue with your product owner, you might be surprised at how flexible they're prepared to be. They might only need certain aspects of the project up and running for the deadline, or they might even be able to extend the overall deadline.

The key to talking to the product owner is managing the project so well you can anticipate issues well in advance. A product owner will take the news of possible project delays much better if they hear about it months in advance rather than the night before it was meant to be submitted.

Project Recovery Is Definitely Possible

When it comes to project recovery, the most important thing is that you keep up the morale and make sure everyone's focused on the task at hand. It's easy for people to get discouraged if a project starts going off track, so make sure you offer your team members some encouragement.

Of course, the best way to keep a project on track is to have a good plan from the beginning. Make sure you have daily stand-up meetings and short sprints. That way, if things are going off track, you and your team can immediately see it and consider a solution.

Need more tips on productivity? Then check out our blog on how to avoid technological distractions.


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