We’ve all been there. You put together a detailed plan that identifies all your project’s major milestones, meetings, and outcomes. Then the inevitable happens: the team is thrown a curveball, and the original plan no longer makes sense. What do you do?
Making a change of plans can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to derail your project. Use the following steps to adapt your plan so your team can keep working without missing a beat.
Then get to work right away on involving your whole team in creating a new plan. Inviting input from everyone will ensure all team members stay engaged and invested in the project, even during tumultuous times.
Assess how far into the project you are, and which parts of the plan still make sense, if any. You might discover the plan is more salvageable than you first feared.
Did it originate from within or outside your team? Was it a one-time event, or will you need to plan for future recurrences?
Resist the temptation to use the first or easiest solution that comes along. While it might solve your problem today, a quick fix could lead to new issues later on.
Will pivoting change the project’s outcome? How will it affect the budget or resources needed? Does it extend the duration of the project, or force you to sacrifice quality? A SWOT analysis built with Post-it® Super Sticky Notes is a great way to visualize the pros and cons of each potential solution.
Updating the original plan will help team members focus on moving forward rather than looking back.
Consider this an opportunity to conduct a “mid-mortem” to discuss what’s working well and what could be improved.
Unexpected changes are a natural part of projects. By following these steps, you can navigate these curves smoothly and allow your team to get on with producing great work.