Project Rescue

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  1. What are the key issues that cause a project to 'fail'?

    Projects requiring a Rescue operation are a tragedy whose plot is rewritten with every performance. Even so, there are common threads. These threads are usually about the collapse of schedule and cost control, and sometimes involve safety or quality. Key issues that often cause schedule and cost fragility:

    • Inadequate or poorly coordinated contract documents
    • Lack of coordination between building services
    • Fast-tracked delivery where construction gets ahead of design
    • Lack of understanding or underestimation of time critical “construction design”
    • A poorly constructed work schedule, that fails to recognise critical needs
    • Lack of a robust logistics plan and/or robust mobilisation schedule
    • A shortage of critical key staff on the contractor side.
    • Insolvency of lead contractor or principal subcontractor


Sometimes projects “go south”, “belly up”, or otherwise become mired in catastrophe. Often, those closest to it do not see the train wreck approaching, and just hope it will be all right in the end. The causes are always complex and are usually founded in bad decisions made early in the project. The outcomes: Broken budgets, blown schedules, unusable projects and/or lawsuits. Nobody’s fault, and everybody’s fault.

Project rescue is difficult and demanding. It requires the concentration of authority in a highly skilled and experienced professional project manager with formal education in architecture, engineering or construction, and decades of on-site experience.

Project rescue also requires complete confidence in the Project Rescue Manager by the Client, who will back the Manager in the tough decisions that are inevitably required.

PSMJ’s global project management expertise can provide rescue strategies to overcome (or at the least minimise) the delay effects and develop a rescue plan that provides the Client with a realistic program to get the project back on track.

We truly hope that you never need Project Rescue. If you’ve followed PSMJ’s advice, you won’t. But if you haven’t, send us an SOS. If we get it in time, we’ll get you out of there alive.

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From Senior Manager to Principal: 20 November 2020 - Sydney
Project Management Essentials: All programs postponed due to Covid 19
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