Nice to see that projects are being ended more often than I would have thought. Michael Krigsman (here) points to a survey (here) where just under 45 percent of the surveyed organizations claimed to have ended a IT project before it was fully implemented.
Roughly half of these projects were stopped for business-related reasons: changed priorities or business needs or because they didn’t align with business strategy. Another 40 percent were ended because of what sound like project execution issues: they didn’t deliver as promised or were over budget.
A big miss IMO, is that the survey results don’t note the phase in which these projects were ended or how much of the budgeted cost was spent. That would have given more insight into how effective the portfolio review processes really were.
Based on my experience, projects stopped for business reasons experience a quick and efficient death. Any rudimentary portfolio process — even if informal — usually catches these issues earlier and dispatches them in such a way that all know that it was the right thing to do. Sadly, poorly executed projects often become undead zombies or vampires — hiding and spending in the dark — until someone finally puts a stake in their hearts (FYI, zombie execution techniques here).