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The Success of Canceled Projects

Steve Romero begins this post by asking a simple question: when was the last time your organization celebrated a project being cancelled. Clearly, nobody likes the idea of just giving up on something that has cost plenty in effort and time, but as   Romero points out, sometimes recognizing a project won't make it (and cutting it then and there) is a better idea than throwing more and more money at it. In fact, Romero makes it a point to refer to a project's premature end as “killing” rather than “cancel” because it sounds deliberate and predatory. Semantic preferences aside, this topic is a critical imperative for every Enterprise. Many of my articles have been devoted to the subject of project failure rates – which have never been less than 50% in any study I have ever seen. Given the high rate of failure, the advantages of killing projects are obvious. I much prefer a $1M mistake over a $5M mistake. And rather than throwing good money after bad I could redirect my precious resources to an effort that yields promise.This decision to kill projects comes down to good PPM. Portfolio management is a culling of the herd, determining what projects are strong enough to reach completion and which are just costing the organization money and resources. Romero indicates that mistakes may be made, but in the end those mistakes cost much less than struggling through a handful of projects that will reach, and exceed, the expected cost and deadline.


About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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