There are times when a manager can achieve the most by bailing out of a project. This does not mean quitting when the going happens to be a tad tougher. People who are productive rarely surrender sans a fight. There could be times, however, when the personnel hit a point where returns start diminishing every passing day. This is the time when further investment in resources could be waste of money. Even big companies flop – and there is nothing shameful about it.
Notice the clues
For a manager, it is vital for you to cancel all failing projects. In this context, it is important to recognize when a project has no chances of revival. There could be still a chance that the failure of the project generates a completely unexpected success. To give an example, the 3M Company invented Post-It notes for general use after the product failed to be sufficiently sticky for other applications. It follows that the definition of failure, as in standard business context, can be described as a thing which does not function as it was intended. A project can be regarded as junk if the costs go over the budget or cannot be delivered on time.
Needs are not defined
This happens when you are unsuccessful to take project sponsors on board and they are so less interested that they do not bother to clarify the needs. It is important to repeatedly question the clients or leaders to inform you exactly what they want. Keep questioning until you know exactly what they actually want. If you do not know what they really want, junk the project.
Unrealistic budget and schedules
Some clients want an excellent work to be done at dirt cheap prices. Every project requires a realistic and well-defined schedules and an adequate budget. Milestones should be set up and they should be more or less permanent.
There are clients who will add more work to an existing project. The project will become bulkier, and costs may go above the budget, even crossing the time schedule. While it is necessary to accommodate the client requirements, there is a limit to such tolerance.
There are projects where you -and your team- may consider a time wasting one. A few projects are so bad that even the higher ups do not care about its fate. Even the users may ignore the outcome of all the hard work you will put in. If these happen to be linked with your project, scrap it immediately.
Heavy churn rate
Many people could jump out from a project if they do not like it. These can be skilled people who take their knowledge and skills with them. If such a thing happens, there will be the need to train a new person or redistribute load to others. The project slows down, raising costs with sliding values.
You may find out that your project does not function well, or does not do as intended for some reason. The project technology could be an old one before its release. If this happens, cancel the project.