4 Key Questions To Ask If Your Project Is Off Course

project off course ba simplified

Projects do go off course, especially if (in your opinion) they started badly. It happens. So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? I was asked recently by a Business Analyst coaching client, and we talked about a solution.

On reflection, I wondered what other experts in the Business Analyst  field were saying.  Alex Papworth is a respected Business Analyst in the IT sector, President of the UK chapter of the IIBA,  and offers help and mentoring to BA’s globally.

project off course ba simplifiedHe knows a thing or two about what to do when your project is off course. I read ‘How To Bring A Project Back On Course (if it has started badly), and I’m sharing it here because it is a sound framework and will really give support to move your project on if this is you.

In this comprehensive piece, as well as knowing the culture and the communication style of the business,  he outlines four key questions that a good Business Analyst should ask in this situation, and as a result be able to offer the most value to stakeholders.

Here are some typical warning signs early on in any project to give an indication that the project is going off course and needs to be managed effectively;

  • Stakeholder disagreement
  • Senior stakeholders lack of decision making
  • Critical team members continually missing deadlines
  • Disagreement in the as-is state

Alex suggests asking these four key questions if your project is off course:

1. Are there disincentives if a project doesn’t deliver the benefits?

For example, the change framework may have ‘gateways’ that require the project to prove it will deliver benefits

2. Does the organisation require a business case before an investment is made?

 Again, this may be part of the change framework

3. What happens on other projects?

4. Does the culture encourage/rewards sponsors to decide on solutions and push through to delivery?

project off course ba simplified

Holding a re-kickoff meeting will be a great place to pose the four key questions above and rally all the key stakeholders together to reconfirm the mission of the project and discuss changes to the project approach. It will provide a way for all impacted parties to recommit to the project and focus priorities.

Thanks to Alex for providing excellent articles which really help Business Analysts to get things moving when a project is off course.

You can read the rest of his article here


150 Chika headshotBA Simplified can help you to discover the most critical business analyst skills – in a simplified form so you can get the edge. We are here to make becoming and excelling in business analysis as simple and easy to understand and implement.  We also help organisations to implement effective business analysis practices in delivering successful projects.

Let us know if you found this useful – and what you would add. We’d appreciate the feedback!

 Chika Oyinlade


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