In an ideal world stopping a project shouldn’t be a difficult decision – it should be based on logic and sound business reasons and everyone will unanimously agree to do so.
Unfortunately, in the real world killing a project is an emotive decision that is likely to be difficult and conflicted. Here are five reasons why you should consider killing a project:
- Flogging a dead horse
The project has been hanging on with a token amount of money and people assigned to it, but has not achieved anywhere close to the benefits that were originally promised.
- Budget blow out
The project is about to overspend by a significant amount of money. Whether this will achieve more than the originally forecast benefits or not, the project should be stopped so a full cost benefit analysis can be completed and an informed decision made.
- Loss of key project staff
Your project manager and/or senior BAs have decided to leave. If the project is not finished or close to finishing, now is a good time to re-evaluate and decide if it’s worth continuing. It’s likely this loss of key staff will have a significant detrimental effect on timelines anyway, so using the time wisely beforehand could save pain down the track.
- Change in strategic goals
It’s mid-year and the board decide that they’re going to change strategic direction. This invalidates one of your project’s key assumptions. At this point you need to go to the project steering committee with a recommendation to stop and re-allocate the resources to another project that better contributes towards the strategic goals.
- No one wants to buy it
R&D is a wonderful thing and has resulted in the creation of some amazing advances in technology, science and medicine. However for every single success there are hundreds of failures. You came up with this super duper shiny “thing” that’s going to change the world, but now it’s almost ready, the sales team has discovered that no-one actually wants it. Yes, you’ve spent millions developing it and with only a couple of hundred thousand dollars more it will be ready, but if no one wants to buy it, it’s an expensive mistake. Stop while you’re up a few hundred thousand dollars and spend the money on marketing the product to get some sales that will then fund the final development.
So what can you do to ensure a project doesn’t get too far down the track before you discover it needs to be stopped? Here are some tips:
– Put metrics or triggers in place up front that will help you to identify the projects in your portfolio that must be considered for culling.
– Keep track of your spending to date, your estimates to complete the projects and most important, what benefits you expect to achieve from those projects.
– Re-evaluate the benefits regularly to make sure that your assumptions still hold true and any changes, to policies for example, do not affect your expected return on investment.
Stopping a project is never an easy choice to make, but armed with the right intel on why and when to do so early, will help prevent additional waste of money and resources. That can will make getting that tough decision over the line easier.
How can Psoda help?
Psoda provides a safe, secure place to store all of your programme and project information giving you access to rich, real time reporting. Helping you make the tough decisions based on sound evidence instead of gut feel.
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