No project lasts first contact with reality, just like no military plan lasts first contact with the enemy. It isn’t because there’s a lack of good engineers and project managers. No, it’s because these good engineers and project managers didn’t properly assess risk during the planning, design and execution phases.
Yesterday on Engineering.com I wrote about the need for an engineer leader or project manager to know when to cut their losses on a failing project. Project Management Institute in their 2013 “Pulse of the Profession” revealed that nearly 37% of all major project fail. On $1 billion in major projects, $135 million is at risk meaning that 13.5% of every project $1 you’re responsible for is at risk.
That’s a lot of risk. And after seeing reports like this one about a major construction project off schedule, severely over budget, and embroiled in a political scandal; one quickly sees that there has to be a better way for an engineer leader to make certain that if they have a project off vector, they can get it back on vector ASAP.
Use a 9-Line to Get Support
The Army uses what’s called a “nine-line medevac” request process to call in rotary-wing air support for the injured. The very existence of the process is because the Army knows that in the course of doing what it does, there is risk. With that risk, soldiers will be injured and there has to be a standard procedure that every soldier understands for call for help.
The analogy is this: in the course of leading a project there is risk. With that risk, there will be change orders, scope creep, schedule slips and changes in business strategy. In some cases, projects will become so far off course that they will be on the brink of failure. In these situations, the engineer leader needs their own nine-line process to get the project back on vector.
9-Line Project Rescue
Here’s your 9-line project rescue process: [Read more…]