Knowing when to kill a project


How difficult is it to kill a project within your organization?

In this day and age when innovation is encouraged at what point does leadership team step in and kill projects especially when organization bias gets in the way of good decision making.

Project Management
Project Planning
Project Delivery
Project Finance
Managerial Finance
Management Accounting
Revenue Analysis
Budget Management
Budget Forecasts
Research and Development (R&D)
Research Project Management
Research & Development
Scott Cook
27 days ago

3 answers


Scott Cook We use an execution framework called 4DX, which is a strategy designed by Sean Covey, Jim Huling and Chris McChesney in their book The 4 Disciplines of Execution. While this framework is used to prioritize wildly important goals (WIGs) from the day-to-day whirlwind of work activities, it can be adapted for innovation management too. Essentially, part of the framework is identifying leading and lagging measures and utilizing a scorecard to evaluate results. So, in innovation management, when commercializing new products (formulation, packaging, etc.), we consistently measure industry, market, customer and category data during commercialization to determine the potential scalability and ROI for a launch. If the numbers are not where we need them to be, we exit, or postpone.

Vic Clesceri
27 days ago
Vic Clesceri - The framework you recommend is perfect for some of my clients. I have found that organizations that have had a track record of success have a harder time accepting that a project is failing and that killing the project is the right thing to do. Bringing in an outside consultant to assess the project helps provide unbiased feedback. - Scott 27 days ago

One of our innovation metrics is the number of projects stopped. It's tracked in our monthly reporting. We don't have a goal to hit, but it has made it more acceptable to kill a project for a myriad of reasons (time, money, pilot results) Great conversations and practices have resulted from this.

Lea Sims
24 days ago

When cost overrun is more than 30%, you should pull the plug.

Ali Qudrat
25 days ago

Have some input?