Nobody wants to be the person to tell a senior stakeholder the thing they are championing may not be what they envisage. 
Have you ever been told on a particularly long and tough delivery that “it’ll be ok, we just need to get it over the line”? The problem is that we may have lost sight of what IT was or WHERE the line was. 
 
The thing to remember is the only constant thing is change. All projects need to be aware they may have to deliver different outputs than originally planned or even their planned outputs may no longer deliver the projects’ objectives. 
 
It is also vitally important to be aware that if anything is jeopardising the Cost/Time/Quality parameters then considering stopping a project is the right course of action. 
 
Examples of events that could jeopardise a successful delivery include: 
Outcome/Outputs are no longer achievable or required 
Timescales cannot be met 
Budget is overspent 
Technical approach is unachievable/no longer viable 
The team doesn’t have the right skill set to deliver it 
Sponsor has changed their mind 
 
Once you are aware of these threats to your delivery, now is the time to adapt. Firstly, try and get clarity on what the new required outputs or outcomes are. Get everyone focused on the WHY – why are you doing this project, why is it important? 
 
Be wary of the “we might as well carry on” approach. Look at what is available NOW. Can this be used? Can it be amended? Or more rarely, has the market gone? Do not sink more costs unless there is a benefit at the end. Use this time to regroup and refocus the team on what is important NOW. Take time to assess and see if it was possible to spot the changes earlier, adapt faster. This is also the part where people learn and may spot similar issues sooner in future deliveries. 
 
This involves having a conversation with your stakeholders. It is still a tough conversation to have, but if you do, you have shown true leadership and awareness of wider business needs. And this process can help the business to grow well. We can work with you and your team members to give the confidence needed to deliver projects better.  
 
If you want help getting up and running with a test and learn approach, please get in touch at hello@clearrockprojects.co.uk. 
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