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Rescue the Problem Project

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Rescue the Problem Project

A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure

by Todd C. Williams

ISBN: 9780814416822

Todd's first book delivers twenty-five years of project rescue experience. Unlike other books on the subject, Rescue the Problem Project focuses on the process to rescue the project. This is the critical few weeks that transform a failing project to a successful project. Other processes blindly layer processes on top of a project without finding the cause of the failure. Rescue the Problem Project focuses on root cause analysis to determine the source of problems and solve them once and for all.

The book starts by discussing the biggest hurdle in rescuing a project—realization that there is a problem—and proceeds though detailed discussion of the four step process to recover them—audit, analysis, negotiate, and execute. In addition, it includes a complete discussion of four key processes to prevent failure.

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Early Praise for the Book
Whether you are trying to prevent, identify, or recover a failing project, this book shows you how to analyze the interaction between people, process, and technology. Rescue the Problem Project is an insightful, comprehensive guide for recovering failing projects. The discussion of project methodologies offers a realistic look at the application of competing processes and highlights their strengths and weaknesses.

Jackie Barretta
Senior Vice President and CIO
Con-way, Inc.

Mr. Williams is a 25-year veteran in high-tech project recovery whose work we've seen first hand. Who better to address the acute business problem of high-tech project failure than someone who has been diagnosing and fixing this issue for years? Mr. Williams confronts this very real need head-on. Rather than an overly technical or theoretical how-to book, Rescue the Problem Project: A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure, takes a very practical approach to the issue that doesn't gloss over what is often the key driver of success: people. Through the use of multiple case studies, the application of Mr. Williams' expertise becomes very tangible for any organization.

Dan McMillan
Vice President
Insurance Services Group
Standard Insurance Company

In today's business climate, where change is constant and time to market is measured in days, Rescue the Problem Project should be compulsory reading for anyone managing projects from the newly minted project manager to program veterans.

Todd has successfully distilled complex concepts into actions that are easily understood and executable at any stage of your project.

Martin Hanssmann
President and CEO
AltaStream Consulting

Rescue the Problem Project: A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure addresses what everyone on the team, from the CEO to the individual contributor, needs to know about recovering projects. This includes understanding the root causes to each problem that pulled the project into the red. Furthermore, it suggests actions to guide corporate change and create an agile and aggressive company.

Dick Albani
Vice President (retired)
TRW. Inc.

Most companies (and books) focus on process and technology, forgetting about the people involved. Rescue the Problem Project realigns that model and stresses the importance of people over process and technology. It covers investigation and analysis of issues with people, technology, and process, providing time-tested methods to correct problems so they never reoccur.

It describes a tried and tested approach that:

  • Helps everyone in the project understand the root causes. Everyone in the project needs to understand how to determine the source of problems. To bring a project successfully back from red, one must step past the symptoms and find problems’ root causes. By correcting problems at their source:
    • Recovered projects become successful projects.
    • The organization avoids repeating the failure.
  • Defines a recovery process to facilitate the required negotiation. This is essential since the recovery manager works as a mediator between all project stakeholders to negotiate the recovery plan. Rescue the Problem Project discusses how to focus skills in management, leadership, and negotiation to uncover the problems with red projects and coordinate customers, managers, and teams to correct the project.
  • Is objective, thorough and methodical. Taking an objective approach calms the situation replacing emotion with fact. Although other books deal with this by recommending the project follow a strict set of procedures, they omit the techniques for objectively assessing the technology, people and applicability of the process they recommend implementing.
  • Provides a holistic approach. The steps of auditing, acquire the data to create a plan; analyzing, formulate the plan; negotiating, sell the plan and executing, implement the plan to create a successful project are a holistic approach to addressing the problems with the project. The process was developed and tuned through years of experience in rescuing projects.
  • Defines the recovery manager as a mediator. Defining the recovery manager as a mediator is a common sense approach very different from other methods. To make the project viable changes are required. Stakeholders that have different goals and objectives must be sold on, negotiated with and approve those changes.
  • Educates the reader on how to prevent red projects. By knowing the reasons projects fail, the reader understands how to prevent the occurrence.

The book contains:

  • Sixty-nine case studies to show how it worked in real life
  • Twenty illustrations clarify points
  • Twenty-two tables for clear and concise presentation of information

Rescue the Problem Project is due for publication in the Spring of 2011, by AMACOM Books, the publishing division of the American Management Association.

To keep up with details on its publication:

More information is available on the book at these pages:

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