Killing A Project Part 1: What criteria should be used to cancel/kill a project?
September 5, 2019

At some point, we all have to make a decision on whether to keep the project going or to kill it and there might be multiple reasons for those kinds of situations. For example, the project seems to be stuck at 50% completion and not moving forward at all or maybe the team thought that starting the project might be the good idea but turned out that it didn’t.

Sometime only one person can make a call to kill the project and other times team makes the decision. And I completely believe that it’s rarely an easy call to kill the project that the whole team was working on for months or weeks and I agree that sometimes we keep going just because we’re emotionally invested in the project for months.

The first step to stop any project is to look at the whole situation objectively. Because when you start taking out emotions from the equation then it becomes easy to kill any project.

If you think that you and others have invested a lot of time in to the project and are too much emotionally attached to the project, then you should bring an outsider to discuss about the project future. That’s how management consultants make money!

Another way to decide is think about the current project status and ask yourself, “Will it going to achieve the project goals?”. If the answer is NO, then kill it.

In some case while your company is working on the project, your competitor launches the same product you’re working on and it’s better then yours. In that case you’re behind in time and quality. So, you should go ahead and stop the project.

SCOPE CREEP: Now we all have seen clients who keep adding more and more features. And it is fine as long as they are agreed to increase the dollar amount and time. But if they don’t agree to do that then go ahead and stop that project because there is a limit of what can be achieved in reasonable parameters.

Define the scope, objective and goals CLEARLY before starting any project. If you join a project in which they are not clearly set, then stop the project and start all over again. It is never too late for a fresh start, a new beginning.

3rd Party dependency: If your project is dependent upon 3rd party resources which are not in your control and you can’t get them under your control then you better stop the project. For example, I know a company that relied upon 3rd party data and they were not interested in providing the data in the middle of the project.

A project can be behind the schedule or it can be behind the set budget. But if your project is behind both then that’s an indication to stop the project as well.


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