An average large company that manages 150 projects per year loses PS13 millions a year because it fails to stop failing projects. It is not always the responsibility of management to cancel projects. If you are working on something that doesn’t deliver the expected benefits, you should speak up. Quickly.
Keith Richards, one the UK’s Agile experts said, “If your goal is to fail, fail fast.” Things go wrong. It is how you handle it that matters. Project managers who admit to making mistakes early on will be able to find others willing to help them get back on track. These projects are often late in the beginning, but they tend to recover later.
If a project manager hides her mistakes and waits until the deadline, she will soon find that people will rally around to help get the project back on track. This is because there is no other choice than to keep pressing ahead.
These projects may seem to be on track until the end, but it takes twice as long overall. Recognize your mistakes and make amends as soon as possible.
Give an objective position
If you are unable to do so, the role of the project manager is to guide the work and to give an objective view on how it is done. This means that they can suggest stopping all work and starting again if necessary. Recommending the end of a project can be a positive step.
Professional failure can be felt when you are late on projects or close to the deadline. You can help yourself to cope with situations that seem to be going wrong at work by having something outside of work that you are passionate about.
Murray’s Deathbed Test (named for a former colleague who had a very practical outlook on life): Consider what you will do when you’re old and dead. What will you do to complete the sentence “I wish I had spent more …”?”? I doubt that the answer will be “completing issue logs” or updating my Gantt charts. Be professional and hardworking, but keep the big picture in mind.
Keep in mind the bigger picture and you won’t be afraid to challenge senior people. Not all projects start with a good idea. If you are certain that the project will fail, tell your sponsor. Then, it is up to your sponsor to decide whether to stop it.
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