Chapter 21. Crisis
Every successful manager is "rewarded" by being asked to do harder and harder things. The path to professional growth entails taking on new and different challenges. Among the most difficult of these is jumping into the middle of someone else's project.
Management is usually very reluctant to change managers in the middle of a software development project. The manager usually has so much "context" in his head that the replacement costs are prohibitive. But sometimes there is no choice. A change must be made, and you have been selected to go in and set things right.
First, you need to realize that you have a sick patient on your hands. If the situation weren't grave, they wouldn't be changing doctors, so don't expect that things will be wonderful when you get there. Second, for the project to be in this situation, a lot of things were probably done wrong. Third, assume that the problem is even worse than your manager thinks it is; usually more bad news is yet to be revealed. Every time you turn over a rock, you are more likely than not to find slimy things that make you shudder.
At least you don't have to pussyfoot around. Because the patient is sick, he can't complain too much about the medicine. You need to assess quickly, make decisions, and go forward. Do not be afraid to make changes. The characteristics of a crisis include a scarcity of time. But even if there is abundant time left, the road to salvation rarely consists of continuing down the current path. A different course needs to be established, and that needs to happen quickly.
But what do you do, and in what order?