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Introducing Project Intercession



an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.



the action of intervening on behalf of another.

So that's the definitions out of the way, but if you're reading this blog, it's possible that it's not just out of interest, instead of that you are seeking support in what may be a less than ideal situation.

Project Fail at an astonishing rate. We could source multiple numbers, articles, industries, but a quick poll around the dinner table will have everyone able to cite and reference their own story of being a part of what they refer to as a failed project.

Establishing some form of failure rate, whilst almost moot, is complicated because a) people often don't like to publicise the fact and that b) these failures are often within inhouse projects in large organisations, so the real numbers don't get surfaced.

It's the larger contracted projects where an organisation contracts one or more vendors to deliver that are the most visible, and whether through industry gossip or public outings in courtrooms that we see the damage caused through projects that don't deliver the "particular aim" (in reference to the definition). By the time a project has reached the rumour mill or the courtroom, the likelihood of a friendly or financially positive outcome can pretty much be discounted. Rather than Case Studies breaming with success stories, bruised ego's & massive invoices become a reality.

Projects are complex, Contracts are tricky, and because it's all held together by People, it's no wonder that things go awry. Effective Project Management, robust and fair Contracts, and the right mix of People go a long way. Still, even then, through the best of intentions, unplanned events (throw in a global pandemic, for instance) and just general "stuff", the most controlled project can run off the rails quickly.

Whether you're working in, steering or funding a project; avoiding a drawn-out disaster relies on three key factors:

  1. Accepting that things can go wrong: whilst keeping positivity is great, awareness and cautiousness is prudent

  2. Knowing and Speaking up when it does go wrong: Be the one to call it out "It think we have a problem"; and

  3. Coming up with a realistic, fair and agreed way to try and get the project back on track

All makes perfect sense right,? Unfortunately, particularly when it comes to project delivery where one party is paying the other, "fair and realistic" is in the eye of the beholder, and quickly relationships are tested.

So what happens now?

  1. Best Case both parties agree on a way forward, and the project moves on

  2. Normal Case the project stalls whilst agreement is reached

  3. In an all too common Bad Case, the parties stop talking, and through an (often) tacit agreement, the project is put to bed; or

  4. Worst case, it's legal representative at 50 paces

The act of Project Intercession is best commenced when both parties have failed to reach an agreement on the way forward and before legal documents start to be drawn up.

This is where The Project Interceders have chosen to focus, wanting to be the intervention that increases the likelihood of projects being recovered and a fair and reasonable way forward being established before the "aims" of the project are missed and well before the need to take on a legal path.

When it comes to failing projects, Best Case may be a pipedream, but the Worst Case is certainly not a case most want to consider, so the next project that you see approaching the "red zone", consider Project Intercession as being the most pragmatic, painless way to get back to seeing your project back on track.

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