Project Portfolio ManagementRisk Management

Why Do Projects Continue If They Aren’t Needed?

When projects start, they just keep going. Or at least that is true at a good number of businesses. In such cases, either there is excellent portfolio management, or projects are carrying on that really should have ended. In a post for the PM Perspectives Blog, Elizabeth Harrin discusses five reasons as to why projects keep on going:

  1. Stopped projects are considered failed.
  2. There is a lack of decision-making.
  3. Risk appetites differ.
  4. Some projects exist thanks to shouting.
  5. No one determines if projects are fulfilling their potential.

Stop and No

The first reason is basically a face-saving mechanism. Shutting down a projects means was unsuccessful—a dreaded failure. In some cases, a project may be running well but no longer fits with a strategic goal. Whatever the case may be, executives are not keen on stopping because of said reason.

Second, a lack of decision-making causes projects to continue. Often in each department there are delegated leaders. But usually there is not one single delegated decision-maker who has the final say on whether a project should come to a close because it isn’t going well or is no longer required. So the project marches on.

About risk appetite, Harrin shares this:

There’s a risk associated with stopping the wrong things. There’s a risk of pulling resources off a project and moving them elsewhere – risks to morale and risks to losing skilled people.

However, there is also risk involved with not stopping projects. A risk that better, more strategically aligned projects aren’t moving forward because the money and people are tied up doing something else.

Regarding the fourth tip, those that shout and hound to get their ideas across are not always presenting the cream of the crop or what should be worked on. But in order to silence the voice, we appease and approve.

Lastly, Harrin offers up an alternative to prolonging the inevitable. She drives home that your time, people, and resources are valuable and should not be squandered on projects that are not producing the intended results. Establish a way to reveal if projects are on the correct projected course. This is done through strong governance processes that are followed through and taken seriously.

For more information you can view the original article here:

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