Some projects will never (as in no chance, baby) achieve intended goals, despite substantial investment of time, resources, and political capital. Even so, many organizations find it difficult to terminate these inevitable failures because of fear, denial, shortsightedness, or lack of consensus.
A post from the Self Improvement Revolution blog hits directly on difficulties associated with ending failures mid-stream:
But the resulting mindset for the project effort can often be so focused on getting the project back on track that it pays no attention to the fact that the project may very well be a dead horse that is still being flogged. It is wise to be open to the possibility that the project is a like a horse that will never run again. So stop flogging it!
It often takes courage to close a project prematurely because often you are likely to upset someone further up the hierarchy. Closing a project early is not for the faint of heart who are afraid to upset the boss, which is why independent consultants often step up to the mark and do the necessary.
There are many large smelly projects that were the brainchild of a C-level executive still laying in dark corners of companies. They have often become irrelevant, expensive and a complete waste of time and effort. No one has the courage to get the executive in question to face up to the fact that their project was not the best idea after all.
There's truth hidden in the hyperbole of this excerpt.
Allowing a dead horse project to run its course means greater expense, more wasted time, and continued investment of political capital. As a result, the consequences of termination only become worse over time. For your own sake, kill these failures sooner than later.
[Image via iStockphoto.]