As your reputation as a Project Manager of note becomes known and people start saying good things about you in hushed tones, the time will eventually come when your manager will call you to the side to ‘ask a favour’. The conversation will start off something like this, ‘We’ve got this project, it’s had a few problems in the past, and I think you’re just the man to put it right.’
Now, you may not have much of a choice about taking on this project, but you are certainly in a position to voice some conditions under which you’ll take it on if you are to deliver it successfully. Look at the big three variables in a project – budget, timescale, scope. This is your chance to put your marker down and give yourself some breathing room.
This is a good time to make some demands about who you need on your team to deliver the project, don’t worry if they’re on another team, another project or even external. It’s also a particularly good idea to review the scope and deliverables of the project, perhaps exclude some features, change technologies or deliver in phases. Lots of options, consider as many as you can.
Be sure you make it clear that not getting the necessary amendments to resourcing, budget or scope will affect your ability to rescue the project as requested. Just remember, once your name is scribed on that list alongside the name of the project, your bargaining power on this front is reduced considerably.