5 Signs Your Project is Doomed

Feb 17, 2011
3 Min Read

Not all projects are created equal.  There will be some that will make your career, and others you’d rather just bury deep in the bowels of your organization’s data servers, never to be seen or heard from again.

Recognize the Situation

We’ve all heard the saying “don’t throw good money after bad.”  But how can you tell if your project is going wrong and when you should cut your losses and move on?  Look for these five signs:

  • The current direction of the project in no way addresses the original business problem you set out to solve, and the requirements are  murky.
  • The project is a victim of “scope creep” – it’s costing far more money, resources, and energy than you intended.
  • One or more key deadlines have already been missed and the end is nowhere in sight.
  • Every status meeting begins with a lengthy discussion of problems rather than completed milestones.
  • All is restless on the team front: you’ve lost a few key personnel and your most optimistic team member starts to openly express doubt.

Proceed Honestly

If your project is in fact doomed, honestly is the best policy.  Bring it to the attention of the higher-ups before someone else does, and in talking with them, spin the failed project as an opportunity for the organization to try a fresher and better aligned approach.  Or, focus on the positive results the project achieved and communicate why the effort was worth it.

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