PM Tip, Week of 01 March 2020

Leaders: 5 Times You Should Cancel a Project


For over 10 years, stakeholders tried to make the Denver International Airport Automated Baggage Handling project work before giving up. The cost of continuing was around $120M, on top of an already over-budget project that was too complex to fix. Project leaders should know when to give up and cancel a project. Here are 5 circumstances that signal the necessity of cancellation:

  1. Project objectives are no longer attainable, and no useful deliverables will result.
  2. The project is no longer aligned with organizational goals and strategy.
  3. The project is very off track and cannot be economically salvaged (do not consider sunk costs in the decision).
  4. The project will no longer provide any value to the organization when completed.
  5. Any contractual terms for cancellation are met.
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