Some Projects Deserve to Die

A software project will occasionally get off to a bad start. Maybe it was ill conceived. Maybe the concept was good but the approach is wrong. Maybe the concept and the approach are correct but the team consists of the wrong people.

Or, forget all that — maybe the project got off to a good start but something changed along the way. The original premise may no longer be valid; the chosen technology solution isn’t working; the team has lost a critical member.

Need more? Maybe the company direction has changed or a competitor has announced something completely unforeseen. The game has changed and so must the project.

It is truly frustrating to work on a project that seems headed for failure regardless of the reason(s) why. If you find yourself on a project that you believe is doomed, speak up. Don’t whine and complain. Instead, ask questions. Make everyone involved think about what they are doing and why they are doing it.

  • Does the project have clearly defined goals and are they still valid?
  • Does it appear that the goals can be met given the current constraints?
  • Is the chosen technology up to the task? Is the team up to it?
  • Are there other projects overlapping with this one? If so, why?
  • Is the business ready to accept and use the resulting software?

Enterprise software development is never easy — agile or not.

For more insight on this topic, take a look at this posting called “Product Management Tip: If Your Product’s a Turkey, Kill It!” at

Updated: December 31, 2010 — 5:16 pm