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Topics: Information Technology, PMO, Using PMI Standards
How should a failed project be handled?
If a project is irreparably going to fail, what should the PM do in closing the project? One obvious "todo" item that comes to mind is to carry out a Lessons Learned session and document what went wrong to cause the project to fail. What else should be executed prior to closing a failed project? Are there standard guidelines that a PM should follow in bringing a failed project to closure?
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In my opinion:

1. First thing to do is stop all expenses on the project to restrict the loss.
2. Segregate the project based on work (like support, development, testing, etc.) and then make end-to-end complete study of each function. Hopefully you will find glitches in them. This will lead you to further evaluation.
3. Communicate your findings to senior management and other stakeholders followed by a review meeting to see if any corrective action can be taken to minimize further loss or alteast bring part of project in green zone.
4. If irreparable then release all resources, resolve all contracts, submit all official documents, note down your findings and lesson learned and proceed to closure.

Other than just lesson learned documentation, there should also be solution proposed in detail showing how it could have averted the downfall of project. This will help in future to fix the responsibilities of each one on future such projects and alteration to current process and procedures.
4.
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2 replies by Mudassar Khan and Soumya Maitra
Mar 10, 2017 8:33 AM
Soumya Maitra
...
Thanks Saurabh. You have logically broken it down very well.
Mar 11, 2017 2:15 AM
Mudassar Khan
...
So aptly put together :) Excellent Response :)
Mar 10, 2017 4:36 AM
Replying to saurabh mahajan
...
In my opinion:

1. First thing to do is stop all expenses on the project to restrict the loss.
2. Segregate the project based on work (like support, development, testing, etc.) and then make end-to-end complete study of each function. Hopefully you will find glitches in them. This will lead you to further evaluation.
3. Communicate your findings to senior management and other stakeholders followed by a review meeting to see if any corrective action can be taken to minimize further loss or alteast bring part of project in green zone.
4. If irreparable then release all resources, resolve all contracts, submit all official documents, note down your findings and lesson learned and proceed to closure.

Other than just lesson learned documentation, there should also be solution proposed in detail showing how it could have averted the downfall of project. This will help in future to fix the responsibilities of each one on future such projects and alteration to current process and procedures.
4.
Thanks Saurabh. You have logically broken it down very well.
Just to be clear, have the Sponsor and major stakeholders already agreed that the project will fail, and have they officially decided to end it? Or are you the only one who has realized the project will fail, and haven't yet communicated this information to the Sponsor?
...
1 reply by Soumya Maitra
Mar 10, 2017 5:47 PM
Soumya Maitra
...
Hello Eric, that's a very pertinent point. How does the steps that the PM needs to follow change for the two scenarios?
Is it an internal project or for a external client?
In the later case, have you done discussion with the client on possible action (extended budget, time line...)?
In your comment you say "If a project is irreparably going to fail." Are you ahead of yourself?

Like Vincent; I'd have questions: What I'd want to know is how did it get to this point. what are the PM next steps and what is the recommendation by the sponsor?

Many times the organization will call in a Firefighter and a hand-off may or may not occur,

https://www.projectmanagement.com/articles...r-Firefighter-)
In a sense, I agree with Saurabh but also agree with Vincent that you need to discuss all those actions with the client.
First of all you have to stay clear how you determine the project is failed. Second, the project manager MUST not take this type of decision. The only thing the project manager MUST do is to compile or the information needed and put them on the table because other people (steering commitee, program manager, portfolio manager) will have the needed visibility to take the decision based on the information you provide.
Mar 10, 2017 11:14 AM
Replying to Eric Simms
...
Just to be clear, have the Sponsor and major stakeholders already agreed that the project will fail, and have they officially decided to end it? Or are you the only one who has realized the project will fail, and haven't yet communicated this information to the Sponsor?
Hello Eric, that's a very pertinent point. How does the steps that the PM needs to follow change for the two scenarios?
Mar 10, 2017 4:36 AM
Replying to saurabh mahajan
...
In my opinion:

1. First thing to do is stop all expenses on the project to restrict the loss.
2. Segregate the project based on work (like support, development, testing, etc.) and then make end-to-end complete study of each function. Hopefully you will find glitches in them. This will lead you to further evaluation.
3. Communicate your findings to senior management and other stakeholders followed by a review meeting to see if any corrective action can be taken to minimize further loss or alteast bring part of project in green zone.
4. If irreparable then release all resources, resolve all contracts, submit all official documents, note down your findings and lesson learned and proceed to closure.

Other than just lesson learned documentation, there should also be solution proposed in detail showing how it could have averted the downfall of project. This will help in future to fix the responsibilities of each one on future such projects and alteration to current process and procedures.
4.
So aptly put together :) Excellent Response :)
Sorry, but I fully disagree with Saurabh. Project manager have to do nothing except to evaluate the situation and prepare the needed information to publish to people who must decide. The project manager has not the enough visibility to decide about this. Things like point 1 and 2 inside Sarubah comment (Sarubah please do not take this as something against you) could jeopardize a program or portfolio. That is my point. I have worked on programas where a project is in the same situation but we continue because strategical reasons. So, that is the only thing I`d like to bring to your attention.
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