Every project has at least one risk which terrifies the project manager. Maybe you will be worried about a new piece of software messing up, a key member of staff leaving or some other potential disaster. There are plenty of risks out there which you might not even want to face up to.
So what will you do if the nightmare scenario come true and it really happens? Thankfully there are a few simple steps to take which will help you along the way.
You Did Plan for It, Didn’t You?
There is a limit to how much you can plan for some things but hopefully you will at least have thought about the situation. Of course, ideally you will have a plan B lined up to kick in right away but if you haven’t then you should at least avoid being left sitting at your desk with your faced frozen in a cartoon style grimace while you panic. If you have placed the risk on your risk and issues log like you should have done then you should already have done some work on it. This might mean checking out alternative solutions, working out a revised budget or simply identifying the need to run the situation past the right people to get a decision made. The more you have planned in advance then the easier it will be to deal with the issue once it occurs.
The previous step is going to be a big help with this one as well. By having already done some planning you will feel a lot calmer and more comfortable about dealing with the situation. Regardless of whether you have planned or not you can still find other ways of staying calm, though. For example, if you have dealt with difficult projects in the past then leaning on this experience can be a big help. You could also quickly get together with your team members and see what ideas they can come up with too. This is definitely a better approach than sitting on your own and stewing over the problem for too long.
Consider the Alternatives
Every problem always has various potential solutions to it. These can range from ripping up the whole thing and starting again to just making a few minor adjustments. It is important you look at all of the possible alternatives instead of reacting too quickly and diving in to do the first thing which comes into your mind. Even if your initial reaction is to think that you know what to do it still makes sense to take your time before going ahead. You might also want to get others involved in the process of coming up with a number of different possible solutions to the problem. If you end up going ahead with your initial thoughts then at least you can do so safe in the knowledge that you have fully considered the alternatives.
Get Buy In for the New Approach
If you need to change your approach because of this incident then it is important that you get buy in for it. You don’t want it to seem as though you are driving ahead at all costs without consulting anyone else. Your stakeholders need to know what has changed and how this will affect the final solution which you deliver. If you get them involved in the process for evaluating and choosing the new approach then this is even better but as a minimum you need to advise them and make sure that they are on board with you.
Don’t Throw the Blame Around
It is easy to blame others when things go wrong on your projects. However, you won’t achieve much more than upsetting the balance of the project if you do this. If someone in the team has done something wrong then there will be a time and a place to speak to them and help them learn not to do the same thing again. However, you should avoid throwing around the blame in the heat of the moment. We all make mistakes during our careers and when someone in the team does this then your initial thoughts should be around sorting things out. If you are to blame then you need to hold up your hands and admit to this. By trying to hide from your share of the blame you will only make it more likely that you do the same thing again in the future.