Strategy to recover credibility of a Government project
A large Government project team whose major clients were heads of functions and project liaison professionals in other Government departments found that it had lost credibility with them. The project had proved more technically challenging than originally believed, and they had not fulfilled early promises as to value delivered or deadlines met.
We interviewed a cross section of clients and other stakeholders, identified and prioritised primary influencers among them, and developed a strategy for recovery.
Main elements of the strategy included:
An apology for broken promises . The stakeholders were angry at both the team's perceived lack of performance, and at what they believed was a management style of ignoring their concerns. The apology was an essential key to unlocking these relationships.
A core story , explaining clearly the serious problems the project was originally conceived to address, the dilemmas the team had faced since, and the solutions they were implementing to put it back on track.
New relationshi p structures . The team invited departmental project liaison people and functional heads to more briefings and meetings on the progress of the project. They shared more decisions through these forums, and listened actively to client concerns. They adopted a policy of visibly addressing the concerns of their client groups.
The result was that clients reengaged with the project team. Together they set new goals and deadlines that both sides were more confident with, and agreed new ways to keep mutually informed about key issues and risks affecting project progress. Most im p ortant, the strategy restored relationships so that parties with differing views could trust each other enough to meet and resolve issues.
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