Research: How to Get Better at Killing Bad Projects

Most innovation managers know that few of their initiatives will succeed, so they keep multiple projects running at the same time and create processes for quickly separating winners from losers. One popular way to make decisions about what stays and what goes is the use of stage gates. Yet, even with stage gates, firms struggle to kill bad projects. The authors undertook a decade-long review of the product development portfolio at former handset maker Sony Ericsson. They found that that the conventional use of stage gates can actually be part of the problem, impeding project discontinuation in counterintuitive ways.

About George Veth

George Veth is a consultant in the areas of strategy execution and initiative management. Most recently, he has been leading a cross-boundary collaboration program with teams from cities across North America and Europe. He lives in Cambridge, MA, and runs a nonprofit SME Impact Fund in East Africa. His subject matter interests are organizational culture, management [system] innovation, and public value management.