Kill or No Kill


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Kill or No-Kill:

Kill or No-Kill Mary Rozier, Wilmington University How Failing to Kill Projects Costs Millions

You have seen them.......:

You have seen them....... Boston Big Dig Project 1987-2003. A cost overrun of $13 BILLION dollars Solyndra loan gaurantee for now-bankrupt solar energy company FBI’s Virtual Case File System replaced by Sentinel

Common themes?:

Common themes? Warning signs Took on life Pet project or strong champions Too big to fail...

Been there?:

Been there? 95% indicated strong warning signs 47% said not properly vetted 55% still working with the failed project leaders and management 60% too much to quit

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Chaos Report 2010 - % of projects that fail Adapted from “Project Management Office Implementation and Structuring” 37% of the total worldwide projects were successful, 42% were only a partial success and 21% failed. Over 50% of the projects exceeded their budgets up to 190% and when they are complete, the schedule’s delay is up to 220%” (Macro Solutions).

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Why is it so hard to kill a project? Contributing factors for the failed project

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Why is it so hard to kill a project? Emotional interference Overzealous team spirit Fear, or no courage Emotional Intelligence

People do what they intelligently know that they should not do!:

People do what they intelligently know that they should not do! Risks will disappear Will still succeed Gamble Low value Blind faith Collective belief

Logical Decisions:

Logical Decisions

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Improve the ability to make kill or no-kill decisions quickly and logically Increase the number of review periods Termination scripts Fear of public commitment Kill fees Use design tool aids Exit champions Premortem checks Early warning signs

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Conclusion Don’t make the same mistakes Planning, review and acknowledge emotional interferences Transparency and honesty Apply course correction No excuse for collosal failures

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Appendix References Bennatan, E.M. (2009). “Project failures: Ignoring the warning signs”. Advanced Project Solutions, Inc. Retrieved from: Cerny, A. (2006). “ Emotions in projects: Management of emotions to ensure value for project environments”. ProjektManagement Group. Retrieved from: Ciriello, D. (2010). “Tough project? Ten insights for true success as a project manager”. Project Management Institute . Retrieved from PMI Virtual Library from: Clarke, N. (2010). “Projects are emotional: How project managers’ emotional awareness can influence decisions and behaviors in projects”. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business , Vol. 3 Iss: 4, pp.604 – 624 Corbett, A. (date unknown). “How to kill an underperforming project”. Retrieved from Babson College at: Freedman, R. (2011, April 18). “Develop an IT project recovery plan”. TechRepublic online. Retrieved from: Greiman, V. (2010). “The big dig: Learning from a mega project”. Ask Magazine, Issue 39. Retrieved from: Hardy-Vallee, B. (date unknown). “The cost of bad project management”. Gallup Business Journal online. Retrieved from: Klein, G. (2007 September). “Performing a project premortem”. Harvard Business Review . Retrieved from: Krigsman, M. (2009, July 8). “The truth about zombie projects”. ZDnet . Retrieved from:

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Appendix Krigsman, M. (2011, March 15). “CIO Analysis: Why 37 percent of projects fail”. ZDnet . Retrieved from: Lee Merkhofer Consulting (date unknown). “Errors and bias in judgment”. From Priority Systems retrieved from: Macro Solutions. Project Management Office Implementation and Structuring retrieved from: Proulx, M. (date unknown). “Would you have the courage to kill your ‘puppy’”. Retrieved from: Romero, S. (2012, April 6). “The success of canceled projects”. The Project Management Hut . Retrieved from: Royer, I. (2003, February). “Why bad projects are so hard to kill”. Harvard Business Review . Retrieved from: Schmidt, J. and Sarangee, K. (2011). “The role of creativity, stability, anticipate regret in new product development: Should I stay or should I go? The dynamics of anticipating regret when developing new products”. Retrieved from the Wilmington University Library: Shepherd, D. and Cardon, M. (2009 September). “Negative Emotional Reactions to Project Failure and the Self-Compassion to Learn from the Experience”. Journal of Management Studies 46:6 September 2009 doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2009.00821.x Sutton, B. (2007). “Why rewarding people for failure makes sense: Paying "Kill Fees" for bad projects”. Retrieved from: Wise, J. (2012 July/August). “Deadly mind traps”. The Reader’s Digest . 102-107 Zhen, J. (2005, February 7). “Why IT projects fail”. Computerworld . Retrieved from:

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Thank you! Questions… or Comments for Mary? Send to:

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