Failure is a part and parcel of every business venture and it's hard to find a project manager who has never had to deal with a failure or two, in the course of their career. Dealing with the failure of a project isn't easy and when something like that occurs, you wonder how it could have happened.
How to Handle Project Failure
While it's important to analyse and alter your operational strategies so as to prevent this from happening again, it's probably even more important to know exactly how project failure should be handled:
If you want to be successful in your business, you have to plan for success as well as failure. Sure, you want your project to succeed and you work hard to ensure it. However, there are a number of variables in play and you never know when failure might rear its ugly head. This is why it's important you be prepared and have a plan B to deal with these eventualities. This would act as a buffer and help you bear the impact in a much better way.
Look out for the signs
It's not advisable to go through a project with blinkers on. You should keep an eye out for early signs of failure, at every step. The signs you should be looking out for are - delays you can't explain, team members that seem perpetually stressed, slow progress on your project etc. As the person who heads the company and manages projects, it's important you note these signs and address them before they get out of hand.
Assessment meetings are important
When any project fails, it's important that you get all your team members together and conduct a meeting. Keep the lines of communication open and encourage your team to provide suggestions. Getting their perspective on the matter will help you ascertain exactly what went wrong and why; this will help you assess each step and understand what you should be doing differently in the future.
Steer clear of playing the blame game
Whenever any project fails, it's quite natural for people to play the blame game. As the person at the helm, it's necessary that you prevent this from happening. Human errors will occur sometimes and the best plan of action is to learn from them and move ahead with business as usual.
The focus should be on improvement
This is the very next thing to encourage. While assessing and analysing what went wrong is vital, it's more crucial to be forward - thinking and see what can be done to prevent similar mistakes from occurring in the future. If need be, organise for some refresher training sessions, identify what your team's weaknesses are, and look for ways to improve upon them.
Never forget your failure
It's rightly said that failures are the stepping stones to success and this is true even in the case of a project. Keep a note of all the things that went wrong in your project and use this information and experience to enhance your training methodologies. This will reduce the chances of mistakes.
Learn to recycle
Even if a particular strategy or project failed, it doesn't make sense to discard it altogether. There are bound to be segments of it that can still be recycled and reused. Identify what these things are, and set them aside. You might just find some use for them in a later project.
Maintain a Positive Outlook
Be positive and help your team build resilience and creativity. That way, no matter what the fate of a particular project is, you will be assured that your employees have the tenacity to learn from the mistakes that occurred and improve on things they do in the future.
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About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.