You've probably managed a project that everyone (including yourself) secretly thought was going to fail. When this happens it's in everyone's best interests to candidly voice their concerns.
Every project entails risk. Every project can fail. Most successful projects encounter dark days when everything seems to go wrong. There's a fine line between being a quitter and recognizing reality.
The following questions cut to the heart of project health. They may help separate normal project issues from projects that will certainly fail.
- Does the organization have the ability to execute the project?
- Is the sponsor actively committed to the project?
- Does the sponsor have the ability (authority, influence) to support the project?
- Are stakeholders resisting the project?
- Are expectations about the project close to reality?
- Is the project visible to the organization?
- Is the project widely resisted at the ground level?
- Does the project have support to manage the people-side of change?
- Is the project plan overly aggressive (lack of contingency)?
- Are requirements consistent with the realities of the business?
- Are releases long, big and/or complex?
- Is there a realistic plan to integrate the project with concurrent changes to the organization?
- Does the risk management plan identify high impact, high probability risks that have been accepted?
- Does the quality plan indicate that quality will excessively low?
- Does the project team have the ability to deliver the project?
- Is political infighting causing excessive delays and low quality decisions?
- Are project deliverable's low quality?
- Does your project approach or plan have structural issues?
- Do products being delivered have structural issues (e.g. technology architecture issues)?
- Has productivity been chronically low?
- Are there serious relationship problems with consultants, vendors and suppliers?
- Are issues mounting far faster than they could possibly be cleared?
- Is the project team in low spirits?