Mohamed El-Arian is the well known and respected CEO of the investment firm PIMCO who has a blog on linkedin.
In a recent posting, he uses the ongoing project mess of the US healthcare.gov website rollout for some sage advice for CEO's. In fact, this is good advice for senior project managers who are engaged in "bet the business" project initiatives.
Click here to have a read for yourself, although the highpoints are these five points of executive action. This is El-Erian's action plan when facing a project near-failure with far reaching business impacts:
First, ensure that the destination is unquestionably sound and visible – and do so by repeatedly reminding stakeholders (both internal and external) of the validity of the strategic initiative; and by making it crystal clear to opponents that key elements are non-negotiable.
Second, work backwards from the destination to specify and communicate the key steps in the journey of re-establishing comprehensively the credibility of the initiative.
Third, seek some quick wins in implementation to illustrate that the initial slippage, while meaningful, is indeed temporary and reversible.
Fourth, do not allow this whole issue to consume every other part of the business, activities, public interactions and internal discussions.
Fifth, be totally open with your constituents, including by recognizing that the initiative’s full recovery is probably months in the making. Properly managing what are now unanchored expectations becomes a key tenet of leadership and corporate strategy.