Walking Dead Projects

Do you have any Zombies in your closet? Is there any unfinished work that follows you? Dive in here for how to kill the Walking Dead Projects.

Hey Crizpers, do you know what is a Project Manager’s nightmare? What may wake you up at night and will not let you fall asleep again? I am talking about the unfinished projects. These paused Walking Deads are always following you and do not allow closing that damn plan. In the end of 2019 let’s discuss how to clean up your tails and how to expel those Zombies from your professional path.

Find your Walking Deads

To begin with let’s refer to the annual review of your done stuff and analyze it. We have filtered the completed projects and praised ourselves for the good work. Refresh this with an article ‘Project Manager’s Annual Plan‘.

We have also reviewed the uncompleted stuff and defined the way to implement the improvement in order to finish the work efficiently.

And we have put in the dustbin all the other items that were considered as not relevant anymore. They might be not relevant, but still not closed. These are the Walking Deads we are referring to.

Should we simply delete them without any relevant record? Is there a chance they will come to life again? Let’s define, how could we accurately bury our Zombies to ensure they are not following us anymore.

What a Walking Dead Project is?

By Zombies I mean the paused projects. I propose to clarify what exactly the paused project is in order to stay on the same page. This is a project which has been started, kicked off, but for some reason the work was not completed and the project was not deployed.

There could be multiple reasons for pausing it. Such as the customer has run out of funds; the idea of the project is not relevant anymore and the product owner is not interested in the final output; any external reason for pausing, like changes in law or standards; the priority of projects has been changed; lack of resources, and so on.

Here we need to clearly understand why the project is not wanted now and for what reason we have been forced to stop the work. Based on the cause we will be defining the weapon for our Zombie.

Besides, you could have several Walking Dead followers, so work with each of them individually with care.

hunting paused projects

Hunting a Zombie

Once we have defined the paused projects and identified the reasons for pausing, let’s check up the trails. Initially, we are to verify the reason for pausing and also the personality of the initiative to pause a project. We need to know who to address our questions to.

Once we have this guy defined, take an interview to ensure whether the reason for pausing is still relevant and that no changes have popped up afterwards.

Should our research provide an information that the project is still wanted and there is no purpose to keep it paused anymore, it would be appropriate to push it to re-initiation and create the process improvement in order to implement it into the action.

However, if it was confirmed the project should not be pushed to work again, we are to proceed our hunting. Now we have the reason for pausing, let’s document it for the future record and reference. Once done, it’s time to grab the Zombie and to start burying it.

Kill it

How to kill a Walking Dead Project? The reason for pausing is found and recorded. At this moment we could proceed with the project closure steps. But keep in mind, that the work was not completed, thus we need to leave a possibility for re-opening this kind of project should the necessity be raised up in future.

As for the closure, the main idea is to ensure all the project information is up-to-date, and if not, to revive it and to document it carefully. This is related to the project knowledge and documentation, budget, scope, percentage of completion, reason for closure. I believe, these are the general points to pay attention to, if there are others you would like to consider, please let me know in comments.

There is a possibility someone is still not aware of the project closure. It is important to timely notify the paused project’s stakeholders about the actions taken to keep everybody on the same page. Also inform them on what will be done with the project resources, such as storages, servers, material resources, etc.

Once done and you have a big folder with the updated documents on hand, find an easy and accessible way to store and unpack it on demand. There could be a PMO storage, or a company portal, or a folder in the repository, depends on the company policies.

Why Killing them?

The paused projects closure process is not the most interesting one, however, it is important and should be implemented in the Project Management procedures. Also, it will help to define when the project could be considered as paused. Should it be a week or a month since no work is being done.

Firstly, it will clear up the resources allocation activities. Usually when there is a Zombie on board, the resources are still dedicated to it. Although in the reality people are not spending time to that project, we see the loading in our records and think the resources are committed to work and not available. This impacts other projects that could be in a high priority.

hunting a paused project

Next, the presence of the paused project is influencing the people themselves. They might still feel they need to maintain some information, material resources, or to track the updates. It distracts from the important work. And a Project Manager is here is the list as well.

This might impact the material resources. We could still keep the servers up and running, or keep the materials in the warehouse. This is a waste of funds. The company could use these servers by archiving the projects, or utilize the materials from the warehouse and free the space for other needs.

Let me know if you recall other reasons for closing the paused projects.

Life after

Once we have completed the research, updated the paused projects information, closed them and when the boring work is done we could now brief wider.

This is important to frequently brush up the list of your projects when you are not dedicated to a sole one. If so, there is still a possibility of paused features or change requests, thus pay attention to them.

Killing Walking Dead Projects will help to focus on the work that is really important, stop wasting resources and funds, and will help to allocate new forces to the high-profile projects.

The closure of the year is an appropriate time to finally close all the Walking Dead Projects if you have not done this yet, to put on dots on ‘i’-s and to step in 2020 with the fresh mind and available resources for the new commitments.

Tell me if you have tried to hunt your Zombies and if the guidelines from this article helped you. Do you have your own hints on how to clean your closet? I would love to know!