Friday, September 16, 2005

Train Wrecks - Part II

Previously, I discussed organizational "train wrecks" and how to see them coming. But what happens when, in spite of your forward vision, you still find yourself caught up in a wreck? The best way to survive a train wreck is to avoid it:
  • Be aware of common kinds of failures
  • Be able to compare to previous experiences
  • Provide the motivation and time to look for early symptoms
  • Enhibit a culture that listens to “whistleblowers”

If you are faced with a project that is already a train wreck, you have to:

  • Change the train’s direction
  • Slow the train
  • Stop the train crash, and admit failure (learn)
  • Crash, and pretend you meant to crash

The only things we can do when we are in a train wreck is to:

  • Add resources
  • Cut something
  • Change something
  • When you are in the middle of the train wreck you should not focus on the "lost" cost (what we have already spent and what has happened), but work with what is in the present.

Bottom line? Some people think you can avoid a train wreck by simply not riding the train, but that's the easy way out. Look at the picture...and remember the people passing by on the street are also impacted by the wreck (maybe more so than the people on the train). Projects that do have no risk also offer little or no upside opportunity for the people on the project. The art is to manage risk and to ensure that risk doesn't become wreck.


Post a Comment

<< Home