亲爱的G.H.F.：首先，我要推荐一本值得一读的好书《拯救问题项目——识别、预防、重启失败项目完全指导手册》（Rescue the Problem Project: A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure）。这本书的作者托德•C•威廉姆斯是俄勒冈州波特兰市咨询公司eCameron的负责人。他花了25年时间为《财富》美国500强公司（Fortune 500）提供咨询服务，解决如何应对正在走向失败、或已经失败的项目。
Dear Annie: A colleague with a twisted sense of humor sent me your recent column about bouncing back from a big, visible failure, because I've just been put in charge of a project that everyone here thinks is probably doomed. Here's what happened: A team of 12 has been trying for the past nine months or so to launch an internal capability that we have not had up to now. It would save us a ton of money if we can get it to work, but it has turned out to be more complicated than anyone expected, and senior management is so frustrated by the various problems and delays that my boss expects me to cut our losses by chucking the whole thing and starting over with a different team.
However, it seems to me that this thing is fixable, if we can just stop all the finger-pointing and concentrate on making a few essential changes. But I don't really have much experience with this kind of situation. Can you or your readers recommend a good source of practical guidance on how to save a project that has gone off track? -- Glass Half Full
Dear G.H.F.: One place to start would be a highly readable book called Rescue the Problem Project: A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure. Author Todd C. Williams, head of eCameron, a consulting firm based near Portland, Ore., has spent the past 25 years advising Fortune 500 companies on what to do about projects that are either headed for a cliff or have already gone over.
Sometimes he recommends scrapping them, but not always. "Deciding whether to go forward depends partly on how much the company has already sunk into it, and whether getting the project back on track can eventually make up the losses," Williams says. "But the main question is one of strategy. How important is this project to the company's strategic goals? If the capability you're trying to build is critical, the project is worth fixing."
Let's say that the potential cost savings you mention are significant enough that it makes financial sense to persevere. Williams recommends these four steps to turning your project around:
1. Stop the blame game. "The finger-pointing stage is usually when I get called in," says Williams. "But with any failure, a lot of the responsibility really belongs with senior management, for not providing clear direction, or not monitoring the project closely enough, or both. Once we point that out, bosses are more willing to shift the discussion away from assigning blame and on to finding solutions" -- which leads to Step No. 2.
2. Focus on the facts. "Real data are your best friend right now," Williams says. "Dig deep into the details of exactly what went wrong at each stage, and why." Getting to the bottom of each failure point "is like peeling an onion. You need to work down to the center. Suppose, for instance, a critical component arrived late. Why? How can that be prevented in the future?"
He adds that it's important not to be swayed by any opinion or assumption that can't be verified. "Often people say to us, 'When you do your audit of this project, here's what you'll find the problem was,'" Williams says. "My answer is, 'Let me do the audit first and we'll see.' Anytime something has gone wrong, there's a tendency to jump to conclusions -- which often is what started the trouble in the first place."