3 signs it’s time to kill the project:

Project management, coaching and project team participation can become dreadful. What are the right reasons to kill the project? 


There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
Peter Drucker

The potential value propositions– increasing efficiency, quality performance or organizational capacity –can become unrealistic or unreachable if you are missing key supports for the project.  Projects can be time consuming, but when the project seems like its spinning its wheels—and needs a lot of energy to keep it alive, it’s time to reassess. Can it be revived? Is more effort worth it? Sometimes the best kind of project is a killed project.  Project problems:

  1. There’s no leadership:
    You’re coaching for improvement and your improvement team leader isn’t. Your team leader provides access to the local team-Without the leader, there’s no team to coach.  Projects can be assigned to leaders who don’t see the value, don’t have the time, don’t have the capacity for leading an initiative. Disorganized or infrequent meetings, confusion, defensiveness or hostility from the leader may indicate that this isn’t the right work for now.
     Attempt resuscitation: If the leader
    -believes that the initiative is important
    -has the skill and interest
    -can put the project on hold for a short time and revisit
    Do not resuscitate: If the leader
    -Doesn’t see the point of the project
    -Doesn’t have the skill and has no time and/or interest in learning
    -Does not want to be the leader.
    -If there are two or more leaders.  And don’t share the same vision for the project.
  2. There’s no support:
    The leader is faltering and the team’s getting anxious. The project is valuable and important, so up the command chain to the sponsor:
    Attempt resuscitation:  If the sponsor is
    -Busy, concerned and interested.  The sponsor’s willing to chat with the leader, assist in coaching and see the project through. Great!  Meet and make a plan to make it right.
    -Is surprised that this project is still around…because they’ve forgotten or organizational priorities have changed.   You might be able to turn this one around.  A project update and plan refreshment may be all it takes.
    Do not resuscitate: If the sponsor
    -Is unreachable.  No email or phone calls returned after multiple attempts at contact.
    -Believes that the leader is not capable, but doesn’t have a replacement leader and/or doesn’t want to support the leader.
    -Is uncertain that this is the right work now… and now means in the foreseeable future.
    -Didn’t know that they were the sponsor.  Oooops.
  3. There is no point: 
Organizational change can bring new constraints or opportunities for a project. Small issues like team staff turnover or major shifts, like a new US President repeals a major healthcare law– can sometimes render projects irrelevant.
    You’re creating a new series of patient visits aimed at improving the health of patients with chronic conditions. The series is costly to the patient, but is very affective at supporting the health of the patient. Now your organization has just joined an Accountable Care Organization. Pay for service is out, pay for performance is in:
    Attempt resuscitation: If the project aim:
    -remains aligned with the new aims, and the project means can be tweaked to benefit the new aim.  Sometimes a little change can rejuvenate the project and keep it relevant. In this case, the new visit series could be performed by a less expensive provider. Same great health benefits for the patient.
    Do not resuscitate:  If the project is no longer relevant. No reasonable change can realign the project.
    -scrap it. Chalk the time spent to a learning experience which was the right work at the right time, but times have changed.


News Flash:

If the Roles are ignored the project will not have the authority to influence priorities.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/business-innovation/projects-fail-project-management-lessons-01727931#aLdVCRyW5ZgZqRMR.99




  1. Susan

    I’m the new Chairperson for our Surgical services professional nurse council. I’m anxious about doing due diligence in this role in addition to my regular clinical duties.
    I will be referring to the above post for the next twelve months! Thank you!


    1. NurSerial

      Congratulations on the chair position! Shared governance is so important for professional nurses. I am the chair of the Primary Care Nursing Practice Council and have been the chair of the Professional Development council. Councils seem to run best when the purpose and scope of the councils are clearly stated. The best councils are when the members are actively engaged in shared work. I have witnessed “information sharing” based council meetings and (ZZZZZzzzz) membership quickly drops off. If you haven’t already done so, find a good agenda template, a timekeeper and stick to it. Congrats again!! Can’t wait to hear more!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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