Isabelle Royer argues that, based on her study of product innovations in two French companies, organizations had a hard time letting go of bad projects because of the fervent and widespread belief among managers that their projects would eventually succeed (50). Bad projects are continued because of the involved stakeholder’s intense desire to believe in the success of their projects which result to poor planning and risk assessment and produce negative effects of large financial losses and resignation of exit champions, although some lead to other good projects.The power of charisma and grandeur visions of success can cloud the planning process and omit risk-assessment (Resch 41). Royer notes that some of the negative repercussions of bad projects are: large financial losses and resignation of exit champions. Lafarge lost $30 million (in 1992 dollars) and a new mineral-fillers manager who questioned the bad project’s feasibility (52). This manager represents exit champions who would have encouraged a critical approach in assessing the bad project. Widman provides some positive effects of bad projects, such as leading to new more promising projects. For instance, IBM 7030 or Stretch failed to be a feasible and profitable project but resulted to the inventions of pipelining, memory protection, memory interleaving and other technologies that have shaped the development of computers (Widman 1). Thus, failed projects can lead to large losses of money and talent, but some can also lead to new innovations.
Hardships in Killing Bad Projects and Their Consequences