Many projects don't go according to plan. Some people call it a crisis but that is normal when you are working with unknowns. PMs also get pulled into projects after they already have critical issues with Scope/Schedule/Budget, HR and Communication, lack of discipline, loss of structure, etc.  AND don't forget the skeletons hiding in the closet that will be discovered once the PM starts to ask hard questions and do formal analysis, tracking and check point/audits.  

This is basically when a PM needs to:  Rescue a project in "crisis" (Really dislike that word but unfortunately is still common in the English language - try to minimize words that promote panic, they rarely lead to positive results).

A method/approach that I have personally used in a lot of projects (a little step by step check list) includes:
  1. recognize the reason why the project is in failure:
  2. define the degree of trauma to the organization, team and stakeholders;
  3. confirm the timing and duration issues;
  4. confirm the budget issues;
  5. negotiate your position to define a high level of authority;
  6. define your position of authority;
  7. re-establish and confirm rules of conduct;
  8. re-establish and confirm rules of action;
  9. re-establish and confirm rules of communication;
  10. establish a new team culture and level of trust;
  11. re-establish and confirm scope statement;
  12. identify and address resulting warning signs;
  13. address top 5 major issues;
  14. create IDA (issues, decisions, actions) log;
  15. review details of plans (go through all plans and the appropriate Subsidiary plans exist (see previous blog on Project Management Plan Template and 15 Knowledge Areas)
Listed below is a link to a slide show that has a 5 Stage Turn Around Approach for rescuing a project in crisis.  Lots of pictures at the start but then they do share some good information further on.