TurnAround PM: Project Square in English


A few of you might be aware of a methodology called TurnAround PM. I think it is really interesting but as far I know it lacks English resources. Therefore please find here an open PowerPoint template in English language for you to utilise.

TurnAround-PM-Project-Management-Roger-Dannenhauer-Torsten-Koerting-Michael-MerkwitzaWhat is TurnAround PM?

The TurnAround methodology for project management is targeted for projects that already went pear shape. Maybe you are taking over a project as manager that was previously not driven or driven in a bad way. TurnAround PM is also considered the “Champions League” of project management (as per author collaboration team) and I tend to agree.

TurnAround project management is the result of several workshops including a variety of great minds but so far it has been published only in German language. For everybody who understands German I strongly recommend them to buy the book.

Even though I hope the English version will be released soon, I wanted to share one of my favorite project management artifacts with you that I have translated myself – the Project Square.

What is the Project Square?

The Project Square is nice for getting all project related details on a single page. You can either complete this yourself or you can take it to the project meeting and complete it together with the team (recommended approach).

In many cases, you are able to swap the project charter (a.k.a. project initiation document) that can easily fill between ten and twenty pages with a single-page Project Square. That saves time on preparing it and it a whole lot easier to digest for stakeholders. Personally, I would always prefer the Project Square over the project charter and only prepare the latter if it is absolutely required for safe project processing.

Check out the PowerPoint template here and you can find an explanation of the segments and examples below. You can either print it out empty and take it to the meetings to be filled out or you can do it digitally and distribute it per mail or run any digital approval process on it as per your enterprise content management regulations for operations and project management.



Description: “True mood” within the project, which affects the thinking, doing and underlying culture.

Ask yourself:
  • How is the mood, motivation, and engagement in this project?
  • How to best describe the interaction of the team in the project?
  • Is there a motion for trust or distrust when collaborating?
  • Can you feel more happiness and engagement or more animus and resistance?
  • Are you asking for too much or too little? Is there pressure or are there cynical comments?
  • Do you have a motion for overtime or do you have project heroes that pull it all alone?
  • Is the project managed proactive or reactive? Does BAU affect the project team too much?
  • Are you keeping culture clashes in mind?
  • Is the work delivered in a factual manner or is the team working emotionally?
  • Are you working on root causes (and not on symptoms)?
  • Are effect, quality, and efficiency too low compared with invested energy?
  • Conflicts and mistakes are handled in a trusting way
  • Leadership is focused only on symptoms not on root cause
  • Team members come from three different countries, all with a different time zone, speaking three different languages
  • Afraid of conflict; Afraid of mistakes

Project Goals

Description: Scope, time and budget-related matters of the project and the connected working items, that have to be completed to deliver a product, service or other results with functions or data.

Ask yourself:
  • What scope does the project have?
  • Are there actions that are explicitly out of scope? And which are they?
  • What are the most important products, services, and results of the project?
  • What budget is there?
  • What is the timeline of this project?
  • Migrating a certain piece of IT infrastructure, Develop software
  • Transition a new system and replace the current system, migrating data
  • 2m€ budget
  • Start of project on 15th Oct 2014, end is 31st of Dec 2015 (fixed milestone)
  • Start of project on 15th Oct 2014, end is not yet defined (or open)


Description: Important partners, stakeholders, co-workers, teams, vendors, suppliers, sub-suppliers that are required to complete the work items and process the project towards final state.

Ask yourself:
  • What human resources, skills, partners, vendors (internal or external) are involved in this project directly or indirectly?
  • Who works on the work items of the project?
  • Are there people on top of that needed to complete the project?
  • Internal staff
  • External staff
  • Supplier X
  • Vendor X
  • Sub-Supplier X

User Group

Description: Main target and user groups (or environment) that benefits from the project’s results or have a stake in it.

Ask yourself:
  • Who requested the project?
  • Who is the project sponsor?
  • What user group benefits from the results of the project?
  • Who receives project results?
  • Who are other important stakeholders of the project? (Board, Line Org, Line Manager, etc.)
  • Requester
  • User group
  • Close project environment
  • Extended project environment
  • Senior Management Stakeholder


Description: Required resources that are needed to complete the working items and to deliver results in the project: tools, methods, materials.

Ask yourself:
  • What important resources are utilized for the project?
  • What is needed to complete the work items?
  • What is yet to be build or invented in order to complete work items?
  • What is not yet mature enough to deliver results in a required quality or value?
  • Methods
  • Machines
  • Working material
  • Patents
  • Energy


Description: Risk of damage a project can cause.

Ask yourself:
  • What damages might this project inflict?
  • Noise disturbance for people nearby
  • Destruction of a natural habitat
  • Reduction of staff
  • Critical changes to usability
  • Risk of reputation damages
  • Change of vendor landscape


Description: Usefulness and advantages that the project result will provide to user group/environment.

Ask yourself:
  • What is the direct and indirect use of the project?
  • What advantages/benefits does that provide to the user group?
  • What advantages/benefits does that provide to the project requester?
  • What advantages/benefits does that provide for any other stakeholders?
  • Compliance to policies or laws
  • Innovation
  • Access improvements
  • Response time less than two seconds
  • Value increase of 5% p.a.
  • UX improvements
  • Good reference project

Please find the aforementioned PowerPoint template here.
Photo credit and all copyrights: TurnAround PM

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isakhttps://techacute.com
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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