Yogesh Chauhan's Blog

Killing A Project Part 4: What Would Be Your Top 3 Priorities For Planning The Cancellation?

in Miscellaneous on October 17, 2019

This is the 4th article in the series "Killing A Project". Here are the previous 3 articles.

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

Killing A Project Part 2: Who should make the decision to kill a project?

Killing A Project Part 3: How can an organization ensure that a doomed project is killed as early as possible?

In this article I am going to talk about top 3 priorities as a project manager to cancel any project.

1. Establish Processes

You have to implement a clear decision-making procedure to kill projects which are not performing or will not return good end-product. 

In that process you have to consider releasing resources and reallocate them immediately after stakeholders approve the process, so that you can use them to other projects which will save the organization time as well as money on projects which was headed into the wrong track.

consider releasing resources and reallocate them immediately

2. Recognize Signs of Failure in Current Project and Document Lessons Learned 

Failure is not certainly a bad thing; in fact, it can guide us to a more successful project if we are willing to understand what is working and what is not working.

The critical task is to recognize the weak areas and think about why they were challenging and come up with a better way to work on those areas to avoid the failure in next project.

You should interview current team members to get their views about the failure of the project. Also, you should discuss with them what you can use from the current project to other projects for example any reusable code, designs, test cases, clean data and all other project information. After all that document all the lessons learned as a project manager and also mention the lessons learned as a team which could be anything such as the team didn’t conduct adequate market research and their ideas to avoid the same mistakes again.

current team members to get their views about the failure of the project

3. Contact Stakeholders and Sponsors and Final Stop

Your last step would be to go the Stakeholders and Sponsors and represent the Business Case with your decision, why you think you should stop the project and your lesson learned documents. You should also discuss about the resource’s reallocation as soon as possible. 

Then, you should start working on project cancellation plan. Additionally, you need to consult with legal and HR team to make sure that the cancellation of the project won’t threaten your relationships with employees, customers or any business partners. 

Finally, you terminate the project with team and start reallocating resources to other projects.

make sure that the cancellation of the project won’t threaten your relationships


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