How to kill a dead project

Think you might have a zombie IT project on your hands? Killing it can be challenging. It takes just the right mix of forensics and logistical know-how, and a lot of political will.

How to kill a dead project
IDG / Thinkstock

What do the zombie apocalypse and many businesses have in common? Answer: dead things that refuse to lie down and be still.

The dead, brain-eating things businesses have a hard time killing are shambling, resource-eating projects.

You know the ones. They’re projects where the meetings continue, team members still charge their time, but not only is there no forward progress, no two people seem to even agree which direction “forward” is.

But while everyone knows how to kill a real zombie (chop off its head), killing a dead project isn’t quite so simple.

There are three equally difficult steps to dead-project killing. The first is identifying the zombie. The second is persuading those who can kill it to kill it. The third is shutting it down. The first is forensic. The second is primarily political. The third is a matter of logistics.

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