Project Sacrifice: A Legitimate Approach to Strategy Delivery?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

No one likes to talk about cancelled projects. We all know that there are times when projects become incapable of achieving their goals and have to be cancelled so that resources can be freed up and the organization can “cut its losses.” The remaining effort and money can be deployed into other areas that are capable of delivering results.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the willingness to cancel projects—or at least a recognition that cancellation is an inevitability in today’s fast-paced world. But what about taking that one stage further? What about cancelling a project that isn’t experiencing problems? Is there ever a valid reason to sacrifice a project for the good of the organization?

That’s something that organizations are now starting to deal with as they shift from a project focus to a portfolio focus, viewing their strategic initiatives as part of an integrated whole rather than as standalone elements. When you take that integrated view, the success or failure of an individual project becomes less important—and sacrificing it becomes a real possibility.

The other type of portfolio
Before we start talking about the strategic project portfolio, let’s look at the idea of an investment portfolio. Many of us have some kind of investment-based portfolio, whether it’s a retirement fund, an …

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