Dear PM Advisor,
My project was just cancelled even though I was ahead of schedule and under budget. My management says it's not my fault and they cancelled it for business reasons. But I still feel like a loser and find myself having to justify the project cancellation to my friends and co-workers. Any words of consolation?
Failure in Washington, D.C.
When I audit companies for adherence to Good Project Management Practices, I take the cancellation of the occasional project as a sign of good health. Bad ideas that are pushed through to completion just because we've already spent a lot of money and time on them is a sign of bad health.
Project are cancelled for any number of reasons, not all to do with the performance of the team. Your project might have been cancelled because your competitor came out with a product that made your project obsolete. Or there may have been two competing projects in your organization and the other one looked more promising at this point. Or there may not be enough resources to staff all the projects and there was another project added to the list that has a better payback than yours.
Often it is the job of a Project Manager to recommend the cancellation of their own project. Perhaps a technical obstacle proves to be too expensive to resolve.
None of these reasons are any reflection on the skill of the Project Manager. You did the best job you could shepherding the project to this point and you will be rewarded (punished) with annother challenging project.
Send your questions to Bruce@RoundTablePM.com