My first Project Recovery

I first tackled a recovery project when a neighbor of a project I was on came over and asked me if I would take a look at the mess their previous contractor had left behind.
I’d spent a lot of time with this neighbor already; she had come over most every day after I introduced myself as the ‘new, though temporary nuisance next door’, because I was building a large deck and replacing an existing deck on the house there. She always has a glass of something cold for me, and a few questions to ask, some about the work I was doing, some about how I might handle a specific situation. I didn’t realize at the time that she was actually interviewing me for taking over her project!

I started by taking a look at the existing situation, and then making a list of everything that needed to be done to get the project finished. I then ordered those steps in the ‘natural order of construction’, and began pricing out each one.

As we began getting work done on her project, a small remodel coupled with an addition, we worked together on the budget and finances to make sure that we noted how much money the previous contractor was owed, how much he owed her, and how much she needed to sue for. What a mess!

Once we got all the ‘wrong things’ out and the project back to a place where we could properly schedule things, I made a schedule and subbed out various pieces, moving quickly through the rest of the project.

From this project I learned that in Recovery, as opposed to Project Management, you’ve got to have a different approach. You’ve got to seek out the biggest problem first, ignoring all the rest, and get something going somewhere to move things forward, and you’ve got to accept that you’re going to have a lot more questions than you will answers. By adjusting your mindset to reflect the reality you’re stepping into, you can change the way you think about things, and move through them faster and easier. This is far easier to do when you have a solid system for capturing all of the work to be done, which is where my Identify, Capture, Quantify, and Track to Completion methodology came from.

When you’re in Project Recovery, you’ve got to strip away the stuff, get down to the most basic nuts and bolts, and then charge forward carefully. Most people will be urging you on to go faster, but going faster only makes it worse. You don’t need to go faster, you need to go better, to make sure you can get OUT of Recovery, and into Management.