So you’ve done all your homework. You’ve got the entire project scoped out, involved all the stakeholders, and assembled a rocking team. Work on your project has already started, and up until now, things were going great. Schedules were hit, team members were jazzed, and your boss was pleased. It seemed like nothing could stand between you and finishing this project within time, scope, and cost.

Until “it” happened and your project crashed.

I don’t know what “it” is, but you do. It could range from one key team member being sick to an entire revamp of the project from high above the stakeholder tree. Whatever “it” is, “it” has just destroyed everything, and now your work is in shambles, no one knows what’s going on, and there seems to be nothing but chaos surrounding you.

During moments like these, when you’re at the edge of panic because nothing seems to be going right, I say forget the big picture just for a moment. Focus instead of what’s immediately in front of you. If the problem is a sick teammate, maybe you can find someone else as a replacement. If it’s a stakeholder issue, it sounds like you need to talk and find out what’s going on. If you take the “I’m looking at everything that is going wrong” approach, it will not only work against you, it will drive you crazy. So don’t.

There will be a time when you can get the cogs all back into place and oil the machine. This is not the time. Take your foot off the gas and inspect your car before you keep driving down the road.

-Deborah Fike

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