From Re-Covering to Recovering Projects that Went Bad


Projects do not fail. People fail them.

By Charles Villanyi Bokor

The CERP Group

Ottawa, CANADA

Aim of the Study: To advance the knowledge, interest and methodology that corporations and Recovery Project Leaders (RPL) need to undertake a project that was made to perform significantly below expected and/or vital results and is about to fail. To explore the fundamental elements of a methodology for recovering failing projects, as well as the implications of a recovery and by extension inspire future reflections to pro-actively prevent certain failures.

Implications of the Findings

  1. Every 2nd project does not have to be in trouble and if it was managed to the brink of failing, it does not have to fail.
  2. In order to recover a project that was made to fail, executives must first explicitly acknowledge that it is failing and resolve to recover it.
  3. In order to achieve significantly better results (produce project outputs) than what was achieved, project development will have to be approached and governed significantly differently.
  1. Leading a Recovery Project is much more about establishing relationships, than following processes.


No matter who is counting, too many projects are made to fail. According to most estimates, one out of two projects is made to track behind the original schedule, cost more than the original budget and deliver less functionality than defined or more than needed. While the foregoing is significant, what is more significant is that such projects will also produce less value to the organization than what was estimated in the Business Case. Without making significant changes to the way failing projects are developed and governed, they can only be expected to go from bad to worst.

When the problem(s) with a failing project is(are) reluctantly examined, the ensuing reaction is predominantly to accentuate the close tracking, finger pointing and the command and control procedures that may in fact have produced the problem. Maintaining the same mindset, methodology and project governance prolongs the destructive cycle. This research paper is a summary of the 0+2 Steps Project Recovery© methodology (a body of practices, processes, and rules) that proved effective when used to get a bad or failing project back on track. This innovative project development methodology is not instead of but in addition to and totally compatible with other project management best practices. It is a guide for the experienced Recovery Project Leader and project stakeholders involved with implementing and deploying a large project in a difficult organizational environment or with significant constraints. It reviews a handful of sine qua non requirements and the imperative to have the organization’s resolve.


To read entire paper, click here



About the Author

Charles Bokor

Ottawa, Canada



Charles Villanyi Bokor
is a Strategic Management Consultant focused on Leading to Better Decisions. Principal activities include Business Transformation, Problem Project Recovery & Leadership, Strategic Planning. Charles works mostly in Ottawa but has successfully completed assignments in Florida, Wales, Malaysia, Sweden and Australia, and was key-note speaker in Johannesburg South Africa and Victoria BC. Formal education includes an Executive Development and Diploma in Management (McGill University), M.Sc. Mathematics (Université de Grenoble, and U. de Montréal) and B. Sc. Mathematics (Concordia University). He was: Program Director of the Corporate Performance Management Program, Sprott, Carleton; Director of IS/IM at Royal Trust; and at Northern Telecom; CMC; CMC Board Member; PMI-OVOC Board Member; Governor of ICCC; is ITIL Certified and a TBS Independent Project Reviewer.

Charles can be contacted at [email protected]