Selecting which projects to end is at least as important as choosing the projects that you should start. We spend a lot of time determining which projects we will invest in. But once we have chosen to invest, often we don’t re-evaluate whether we should be continuing the project.
When you create your project charter (the document that summarizes and authorizes the project), include a section that talks about re-evaluating the project. Discuss under what circumstances the project should be ended early.
Some of the reasons a project should be ended before it is complete are:
- If there is a significant change in business needs or operations.
- If success is not possible, according to the original estimates.
- If there is a second, higher priority project that needs the resources from the first project.
If any of the above reasons are true, the temptation will be to continue with the original project until it is complete. But this is a waste of effort and resources. If a project is no longer needed, finish it by stopping the project. There is no point in completing a project that no one needs any more.
Stop projects that do not need to be completed, or that you don’t have any hope of finishing.