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Project Portfolio Management

When Projects Go from Bad to Possessed

Published By Team AdaptiveWork

There’s a certain phenomenon that seems to happen right around this time every year as the days begin to get darker and the weather starts sending shivers down your spine. All of a sudden everything to turn into a project management horror show. Printers start jamming, important emails disappear from inboxes and it seems like your project is doomed to horrific failure. Yet what’s that on the horizon? Is it the promised land of Christmas?

No, no it’s not. It’s Halloween and there’s something spooky and eerie in the air. Whether you believe in supernatural horrors or not, it can be hard to escape the feeling that, with everything that’s going wrong with your project, a cabal of cute but wildly destructive gremlins have begun to infest your office.

Well it’s just not good enough to give up and let the project failure disaster unfold around you, like the always-helpless first victim in a horror movie. Something must be done and the demons are there to be battled, after all, the reasons for project failure couldn’t actually be down to dark magic could they? Probably not, but seeing as it’s Halloween, here are some helpful guidelines for how project failure can be prevented, inspired by a few classic tales of horror.

The Frankenstein Approach

We know the feeling, it’s all going to hell in a handcart and there seem to be malign forces tearing your project apart. The solution is obvious, just think, “What would Dr. Frankenstein do?” Well on a chaotic night, illuminated only by deafening lightning bolts and to a soundtrack of maniacal laughter, he would start to piece together working elements from the project, discarding the irretrievable, until finally with a jolt of electricity a new beast would be formed, a slimmed down, rough-around-the-edges but, vitally, functional project.

The Exorcist Approach

Of all the things not to do while trying to address the reasons for project failure, projectile vomiting on visitors would probably rank in the top 10. That being said, this shocking possession horror does contain some reasonably wholesome advice for project managers. If things start to go awry, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a wizened old veteran who has seen it all before and can help you to exorcize your project demons.

The Dracula Approach

Vampires can actually offer some good life lesson: avoid direct UV rays, never go too heavy on the garlic and spending time looking in the mirror is a waste of time. For project manager’s however, it is their ghastlier habit that can offer solutions. Especially when the reasons for project failure are budgetary, sucking the blood/cash out of certain project areas can give extra life to the main body, just make sure not to overdo it and kill the whole thing.

The Jaws Approach

What do you do if the problems you’re facing are completely insurmountable? If current budget levels are too low, the team is already at breaking point and still missing deadlines and technologically you are way behind your competitors. Well, you call in your stakeholders and tell them: “We’re going to need a bigger boat!” Granted they may not get the reference and may instead think that the stress has got you imagining yourself as an unhinged Captain Ahab, but once you break it down and explain that you simply can’t succeed unless you get more resources they will hopefully see your logic.

Whatever happens and no matter how scary the situation, at least you’ll always be able to rely upon a super-fast, cloud-based comfort blanket to metaphorically cover your eyes with and take you to a happier place. Planview AdaptiveWork may not be able to carve a pumpkin and its costume ideas are always too cheesy, but when it comes to projects it can definitely save you from your worst nightmares.

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Written by Team AdaptiveWork