“Project Janitor: Cleaning Other Manager’s Mess” Review: A Practical Guide to Project Recovery

Project Janitor: Cleaning Other Manager’s Mess
5th edition

  • Author: Jamal El Ali
  • Published: 2018
  • 136 pages

Content & Review

Project Janitor deals with a very specific aspect of project management: how to rescue failing projects. Project recovery can be a daunting task – not only the project has many issues and it’s in trouble but you also have to deal with low team morale, the customers’ pressure and a lot of stress and tension. In Project Janitor, Jamal El Ali shares his Four Step Process for project recovery, a method for analyzing the issues, determining a path of recovery and putting it into action.

Jamal El Ali is a project management consultant and author with years of experience with organizations in Canada and the U.S. He’s a certified Project Management Professional, MBA (Master of Business Administration), and CSM. During his career he has successfully managed to recover several troubled projects and put them back on tracks; with this book, he wanted to give a defined structure to what he has learned during the years and share his knowledge.

The main purpose of Project Janitor is to provide an overview of troubled projects as well as a concrete process that can be applied in recovering them. With this book, you can learn how to effectively get a failing project back on track.

The book is divided into 8 chapters.

  • The first three chapters focus on analyzing understanding the project issues: How to determine the reasons why the project is in trouble and start the assessment. In this part, the first half of Jamal’s Four-Step Process is discussed (Step One and Step Two).
  • Chapter 4 discusses the phases of the recovery process in which you need to verify the project assessment and check if the recovery steps are being executed as required.
  • Chapters 5 and 6 focus on stabilizing the project and conducting the recovery and closing activities. This corresponds to the second half of the Jamal’s Four Steps Process (Step Three and Step Four).
  • At Chapter 7 you find a second checkpoint: you need to be able to verify that the project has been recovered as planned. You can also learn here how to manage the closing activities.

The last chapter (Chapter 8) offers additional insights about building your reputation as a successful project manager and an expert project recoverer.



  • The book teaches you the concrete steps you need to address to face the situation of project recovery.
  • You can never avoid risks when dealing with project management. This book gives you the tools to face them and fix possible mistakes.
  • Not only it can be useful for those who have been asked to recording a failed project, but it also helps build deeper knowledge and understanding of the project management concepts and risks.
  • It includes additional content on how to build your reputation as a successful project manager and project recoverer.


  • This book isn’t suitable for beginners or students that need to learn the fundamentals of project management.
  • It doesn’t refer to the PMBOK’s standard concepts and knowledge.

Final Verdict

You’ll love this book if you’re asked to take over a failing project.