Quitting the Project

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“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run.”

Kenny Rogers – “The Gambler”

“The Gambler” reminds us that in poker, folding is part of the game. It allows us to take risks, knowing that if things don’t take a positive turn, we can always abandon the pursuit, although as in poker our project might be seduced by sunk costs – irreversible expenditure.

In 1996 there was a fatal attempt to climb Everest, when five people died on the mountain unwilling to heed the mandatory turnaround time and pull the plug on an expedition that faced deteriorating conditions. How do projects continue in the face of evidence that the plug should have been pulled? How can we make sense of this compulsion to continue? While there’s no single … Read More »



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