A watermelon project

By Gretchen Gavett via http://blogs.hbr.org    Article

The Hidden Indicators of a Failing Project

“Truth be told, no one wants to be the person to pipe up and proclaim, ‘this massive project we’re betting our business on isn’t working, and here’s why.’ According to Matthew McWha, the practice manager at CEB, a member-based advisory company, the culture of project management often discourages the raising of important red flags that could turn problem projects around.

‘There’s a lot of perceived personal risk in saying, ‘I’m managing a failing project,’’ he told me. ‘Or people actually think they can turn it around, so they don’t bring it up. They think they’re better off trying like the dickens to recover it in the meantime.’

McWha calls this a ‘watermelon project’: nice on the outside and one big mess once you cut through the surface. And if you think you can identify these projects in your company, forget it. ‘We think, based on our research, that a significant percentage of a portfolio that consist of watermelon projects don’t actually show up as troubled by conventional definitions,’ he says. …

So how should you approach big projects differently? McWha offered a few suggestions based on research he’s conducted for the CEB PMO Leadership Council, analyzing over 100 large organizations with more than $1 billion in annual revenues: ….”

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