Call It Done: Ending The Never Ending Project

Call It Done 2Do you have projects that have been ongoing for a long time?

You know, the ones that have been in progress for so long that you aren’t even sure when they started.

Or if they ever going to get finished.

Maybe it’s time you “Call It Done” and close that never-ending project.

The Project That Never Ended

I was recently working with a company that was doing an inventory of all of their open work.

It was an eye-opening process. The management team learned they had about 4Xs as many “in progress” projects as they thought.

In fact, there were several company initiatives that no one knew about, nor knew the status.

There was one project in particular that stood out. Many of the newer managers had never heard of it. Many of the veterans thought it had ended years ago.

It had been in progress for seven years.

Yet… it was not done.

The work had not been completed. The project was not over. And yet resources and costs were still being allocated to it.

How was this possible?

Would your company let a project sit idle for 7 years?

Ending the Never Ending Project

This example is not uncommon in large organizations. In fact, some people make a career out of projects that don’t finish.

It can also happen in our personal lives. (Do you have projects that have been on your list forever?)

Many projects outlive their intended purpose or value, yet they are kept “alive” by well-intentioned (and sometimes not well-intentioned) managers.

Sometimes, you must face the truth and Call Them Done.

5 Reasons That Never Ending Project Should be “Called Done”

  1. It Should Have Ended Long Ago – Many projects exceed their deadlines, budgets, and timeframes. Don’t let projects continue “just because.” Better to hold them accountable and end them.
  2. No Longer Has Value – Many projects exceed their usefulness. Or the reason they were started no longer exists. End that project if there is no future value to be delivered.
  3. It’s Over, But No One Turned Off the Lights – Some projects do finish, but are never wrapped up. Make sure the project is closed if it is over.
  4. No End In Sight – Endless extensions. Endless budgets. Good leaders have the fortitude to “pull the plug” on runaway projects. Better to end it now, that let it become a bigger mess to be cleaned up later.
  5. Clear the Way for A New Start – Sometimes you need to end a project to start a new one. If a project’s history is preventing forward progress, you might need to shut it down to begin anew.

Call It Done

Closing a project that isn’t done can be tough. No one likes to admit failure or stalled progress.

However, ongoing projects that are going nowhere only lead to further wasted time and effort.

If you have a project that isn’t ever ending… maybe it’s time to Call It Done.

Question: What ongoing projects do you need to “Call Done?”

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