HBS Working Knowledge: Leadership: When Bad Ideas Won't Die
Why can't companies kill projects that are clearly doomed? Is it just poor management? Bureaucratic inertia? My research has uncovered something quite different. Hardly the product of managerial incompetence or entrenched bureaucracy, the failures I've examined resulted, ironically, from a fervent and widespread belief among managers in the inevitability of their projects' ultimate success.We've all been part of projects which haven't been assessed realistically. The project fails. Why? This article gives some ideas about the failure and some suggestions on how to avoid the fever of project success at any cost.