Project Termination

You may be surprised to hear that 40% of IT application development projects are canceled before they are completed. And, 33% of the remaining IT projects experience cost and schedule overruns and/or changes in scope. IT project failures account for billions of dollars in losses per year (Pinto, Project Management).

Knowing when to terminate a project and how to read the warning signs that a project is at risk is important. Project managers often face difficult decisions about if and when to terminate a project before its completion. Perhaps the costs are higher than expected and there is not enough return on investment. Perhaps the project no longer supports the firm’s strategic plan. Perhaps deadlines are continually missed, or the technology has changed so rapidly that it is now beyond the project’s objectives.

Regardless of the reasons why a project is terminated early, there are emotional and intellectual issues that must be dealt with when shutting down a project.

  • In your opinion, why is it so difficult to bring IT projects to successful completion?
  • Identify some reasons why the cancellation for IT projects is so high.
  • Think of a real world situation where you were a member of a project team that was terminated. Describe this project. Identify the emotional and intellectual issues that arose. If you were the project manager, what steps could you take to offset any negative issues?
  • When you reply to your classmates, what would you do differently as the PM?

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