VOICES Project Toolkit
When a project is canceled, it can
hurt to see all that hard work go to
waste. We asked practitioners:
How do you rebound
after a killed project?
Candid retrospection helps identify the
root cause of the failure and also helps
in identifying if the situation was in our
control or not.
One of the projects I worked on was terminated because of the acquisition of our customer and a change
in product strategy by the client’s new management
team. We made our team aware of the situation and the
potential impact. Transparency and openness helped us
work together to look at the situation objectively rather
than just from an emotional aspect.”
—Rahul Sudame, PMI-ACP, PMP, account manager,
Persistent Systems, Pune, India
Catch the Rebound
Rebounding is not an easy task for the project manager, especially if he or she believed
in the project and was sure it would succeed.
I rebound strongly if I understand the reason behind
killing the project. When I am convinced, according to the
facts, that the project was not beneficial versus its cost,
then I will rebound quickly. This helps me explain it to my
team, which will help all of us move past this project and
focus on a new project and new opportunities.
Take Care of the Team
In many cases, unless a project is way over
budget, very much behind schedule, or failing
miserably in meeting the quality standards,
When the project is killed, the project manager must
be transparent with the team. He or she must tell the
team why the project was killed and thank them for the
value they created for the organization by working on it.
If the organization does not have a skills database, this
would be a good time to create one. This will help team
members walk away with a clear understanding of their
skills and competencies that make them valuable.
Above all, it’s critical that the team be reassigned to
new projects quickly, so that they don’t start to ques-
tion their value to the organization. Once they question
their value, they will start to look
for jobs elsewhere.”
—Dan Furlong, PMI-ACP, PMP,
project management officer,
office of the CIO, Medical
University of South Carolina,
Charleston, South Carolina, USA