• Ron Montgomery

When it's time to abandon...


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One of the 12 Agile Principles (http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html) is, “Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.” One way to maximize the work not done is to abandon a project that has already been approved or is underway. Since only a small percentage of projects are successful, there is a strong case to be made for reviewing projects to determine if it is time to abandon.


A change to corporate strategy should always trigger a review by the Governance Team to determine if any projects should be stopped. Certain escalated risks or issues should also trigger project reviews. Here are some real-world examples.

· An enterprise software conversion project has missed milestones due to contention for key resources with other projects

· An IT infrastructure project that relies on an unproven technology is reporting quality issues

· A software development project is experiencing delays in approving deliverables due to lack of attention by the business owner

· The kickoff meeting for a next-generation proof-of-concept project has been delayed because a business sponsor has not yet been identified


The decision to abandon is painful so it is typically delayed far too long. Establishing a regular process for project reviews may not eliminate the pain, but it will at least shorten the duration.

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