In part 1 of this article series, we accepted that Projects sometimes need to be cancelled. In this part 2, we look at one of the two reasons we identified: it's no longer the right Project.
Projects are often part of a Programme, a wider organisational structure that looks at the bigger picture and the long term business strategy across many years. Individual Projects on the other hand tend to come-and-go,the way, maybe lasting a couple of years at most. It is the Programme that will really be looking at the business vision and roadmap; where the business is going and how it will get there. For this it will likely use Benefits Management techniques such as benefits profiles and benefits maps: looking at the Businesses Objectives, it will trace these back into desired benefits, outcomes and then into outputs required – which Projects are then conceived to deliver. The problem may be that along the way that the wider organisation has changed, such that the output the project was designed to deliver is no longer fit for purpose - it will no longer trigger the benefits that were desired.
For example, consider an organisation looking at expanding its manufacturing capacity at a certain site in order to meet a forecast increased demand for it’s product from its customer base. Potentially a number of Projects would then be initiated to build the new physical infrastructure (buildings, roads), train additional staff, provision IT and canteen facilities etc. But, if a change in economic circumstances results in the business reducing its forecast demand for their product, then this entire endeavour may no longer be required - they don't need the increased capacity after all. So it’s not that the projects aren’t delivering well against its requirements, it’s that those requirements have changed in a major way or potentially may no longer exist at all.
How does this happen? Simply: the world changes, and implementing projects takes time. By the time the Project has been initiated and started working, it is no longer needed. A good acronym for monitoring these wider global influences is PESTLE: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legislative and Economic.
Have you ever experienced a Project getting overtaken by real-world events, such that it is no longer relevant? Keep the points above these in mind when you ask the question: is this still the right Project?
Stay Healthy! Project Health Check - projecthealthcheck.org
To understand why do Projects Fail and what we need to do differently to stop it happening again.