Subido por Cuauh Vargas

Stopping runaway IT projects pdf

Stopping runaway
IT projects
Yukika Awazu
Credit Administrator, UFJ Bank Limited, Chicago,
Illinois ([email protected])
Kevin C. Desouza
Doctoral candidate, Department of Information
& Decision Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
([email protected])
J. Roberto Evaristo
Assistant Professor of Information & Decision Sciences,
University of Illinois at Chicago ([email protected])
A great number of IT projects
seem to take on lives of their
own, gobbling up valuable
resources without ever reaching
their objectives. But they can be
tamed. Once managers understand the
key reasons why projects become runaways,
they can learn to analyze the early signs of
escalation and decide whether, when, and how
to pull the plug. Project management will never
become an exact science, but the guidelines
provided here can at least help move it into the
realm of a disciplined art.
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)
ometimes, organizational success hinges on the
efficient and effective management of projects—
endeavors in which, according to Turner (1993),
“human, material and financial resources are organized in a
novel way, to undertake a unique scope of work, for a given
specification, within constraints of cost and time, so as to
achieve beneficial changes defined by quantitative and qualitative objectives.” Today we witness a great number of
projects that seem to take on lives of their own, continuing to absorb valuable resources without ever reaching
their objectives—in other words, runaway projects. The
majority of information technology projects seem to fall
into this category.
Johnson (1995) cites various studies estimating that
about 30 to 65 percent of software development projects
become runaways. After surveying more than 8,000 IT
projects, the Standish Group (1994) reported that 30 percent of them were canceled before attaining their objectives due to poor project management practices. The average canceled project in the United States is about a year
behind schedule and at 200 percent of its estimated
budget by the time it gets the axe. According to Jones
(1994), efforts on canceled projects can make up as much
as 15 percent of total US software expenditures, which
amounted to as much as $14 billion in 1993. KPMG
(1995) cites several key reasons for runaway projects:
objectives not fully specified; bad planning and estimating; implementing new technology; inadequate or no
project management methods; insufficient senior staff on
the team; and poor performance by hardware or software
suppliers. With such dreary statistics, any effort to understand and curtail the phenomenon of runaway projects is
bound to be of interest to both executives and business
Like all projects, those involving IT begin with a definite
goal. Resources are organized systematically and temporally to attain that goal, and a budget details the extent
and scope of resources to be used. However, IT projects
have peculiarities that tend to blow project management
problems out of proportion. First, IT projects are riskier;
Y. Awazu et al. / Stopping runaway IT projects
their unfinished products may have no value at all,
whereas, say, a half-paved road is still usable and better
than a non-paved one. Second, the field of IT has yet to
mature. Firms must contend with a constant barrage of
new IT products, tools, and technologies, and the management of these technologies is not even close to being a
science. Managers who complain about being stretched
too thin are nonetheless expected to manage projects that
are charting new areas using tools still being developed
and tested. Third, IT projects face much more pressure
than traditional ones because they are still viewed by
many as cost centers. They get bare minimum budgets
compared to other organizational endeavors, with little
room for slack or redundancy in design. Fourth, IT projects are not specific to a department or group; more often
than not, they affect multiple departments and involve
multiple stakeholders. Compromising on individual agendas to attain a global goal is not an easy task.
At various times during a project, management must evaluate its health. Whenever the current resource usage exceeds the budgeted amount, the project is starting to “run
away.” Rational interventions, such as halting the project
or modifying requirements and resources to meet the
budget, should prevent it from continuing on this disastrous course. But instead of such espoused rational behavior, the theory in use by many managers is to allow it to
continue—as Brockner (1992) calls it, an “escalation of
Underscoring the above, we also have to account for
bounded rationality. As Simon (1996) notes, at any given
point a manager will not be able to examine all the relevant information for making a decision on a particular situation. So he is forced to “satisfice”—to obtain an outcome that is “good enough,” though perhaps not the best,
based on past experience and the limited information he
possesses or is able to process.
For the most part, researchers have applied these various
theories to the examination of runaway IT projects. But
although “espoused theories” of the phenomenon have
been developed, little if any work has been undertaken to
articulate “theories of use.” In our opinion, this serves little practical purpose for managers who want to prevent
and curtail escalating projects. So we propose an interactive, two-phase intervention set for software projects.
Using a grounded theory research approach, we have
developed this model through discussions with practitioners in ten software engineering organizations. We cannot
guarantee its absolute generalizability, but preliminary
feedback from practitioners attests to its suitability and
In managing a project, the two most critical resources—
time and cost—must be monitored throughout its life
cycle (see Figure 1). At any point during the project, if
the time to completion or the expected future expenses
exceed that of the budget, its manager must contemplate
the decision: “Do I let the project continue?” Runaway
projects can be studied in two phases: pre- and post-escalation. Pre-escalation is when the project is still on the
planned course but certain factors are swaying it toward
failure; post-escalation is when the project has already
Much research, especially in the behavioral sciences, has
tried to explain why individuals commit to a failing course
of action, even in the face of negative feedback. The three
most salient explanations are as follows. First, Festinger’s
theory of cognitive dissonance holds that decision
makers intuitively focus on information that supports their point of view, due to the need for selfFigure 1
justification. Hence, project managers are less
Life cycle of IT projects—three types of escalating projects
likely to solicit or pay attention to negative information on a project’s status. Second, prospect theory maintains that individuals are risk-seeking
when choosing between two losing options but
risk-averse when choosing between winning
+ Cost
options. Therefore, project managers faced with
the choices of terminating a failed project or escalating commitment are more likely to escalate.
Finally, according to agency theory, which deals
with the relationship between the one who deleTime
gates work (the principal) and the one who performs the work (the agent), agents will choose to
execute decisions that maximize their own selfinterest at the expense of the principal due to
information asymmetry. Hence, project managers
are less likely to cancel escalating projects because
it is not in their best interests, even though it is
beneficial to the overall organization.
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)
Y. Awazu et al. / Stopping runaway IT projects
consumed resources in excess of the budget and the project manager continues to commit resources to it.
There are two types of interventions managers can use in
dealing with runaway projects: proactive and reactive. As
Agre (1982) notes, a problem is not a problem until it is
identified. Therefore, the first step—the proactive step—in
On average, the project
manager’s daily “information
intake” is around 250 e-mail
messages coupled with two
dozen voicemails.
improving project management is to identify potential
issues that could compromise the ability to keep a project
on time and within budget. Clearly, if an issue is identified before it becomes a real problem, a runaway situation
stands a better chance of being averted. Once the project
has begun to run away, its managers are forced to react to
It is important here to study the issues involved in pulling
the plug on these runaways. Put another way, the first
issue to contend with is: Why is it difficult to identify the
signs of an impending runaway project? The second is: Why
is it difficult to react rationally and terminate the project?
Why is it hard to see the
signs of a runaway project?
nything left unchecked that can run amok and
contribute to project failure is a “sign” in this
context. The list of potential signs is large. Most
critical, though, we have to understand the reasons why
the signs of a runaway may not be routinely identified in
time. We were able to distill three major reasons: attention deficit, information overload, and managerial overconfidence.
Attention deficit
In the current age of multitasking, we seldom find project
managers devoted to a single endeavor. On average, they
tend to handle four or five concurrently running projects,
with varying complexities and requirements. Hence, each
project gets only a slice of their attention. As one project
manager of a mid-sized software consulting firm in
Chicago noted:
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)
With the recent downsizing…those of us who are
left have to carry much higher loads in terms of
projects. Hence I am time starved,…as a result of
which, I do not give each project enough attention.
A manager who cannot attend all the meetings cannot
take an integral part in project efforts. Thus, IT project
managers often delegate most of the responsibility of
“managing the project” to a senior business analyst or
software engineer. But these individuals are too caught up
in the development phases and micro details of the project to pay attention to such macro variables as Gantt
charts and costs. Moreover, they are not trained well
enough in project management methods to catch abnormalities and identify signs of potential failure. The lack of
due attention leads to bounded rationality—the inability
to identify potential issues.
Information overload
All the managers we interviewed admitted to falling prey
to the information overload syndrome. With the rate of
advancement in computing and its ubiquitous nature,
managers are now bombarded with more information,
and on a much more frequent basis, than ever before.
Take the case of a project manager for a consulting firm
based in Austin, Texas. On average, his daily “information
intake” is around 250 e-mail messages coupled with two
dozen voicemails, most of which have to do with the
projects he is responsible for. In conjunction with executing his daily tasks at the company, he seldom gets
through all the information bytes he receives during the
day. So, like most managers, he employs a filtering tool
that sifts through his inbox and sorts messages based on
relevance and source.
Thus, many messages related to a project either go unread
or experience delays in being read. In fact, those from the
“front-line” members of a project team are attended to
last, since a manager’s first responsibility is to his fellow
project managers and his supervisor. Messages from the
front lines are often the first indicators that a project is in
trouble. By ignoring them or delaying attending to them,
the manager falls victim to the overload syndrome, making his project more vulnerable to becoming a runaway.
Managers in overload situations are likely to act under
conditions of bounded rationality and be forced to ignore
important signals for issue detection. To compound the
problem, their cognitive dissonance may lead them to
ignore even those signals that do pass through the information overload gate.
The overconfidence trap
We have all been guilty of overestimating our abilities,
heuristics, intuitions, and gut feelings. As one manager
Y. Awazu et al. / Stopping runaway IT projects
I have been at this organization for over ten years
and have managed [well] over 100 projects…I think
no project plan can account for my experience in
running projects.…Which should I rely on, an Excel
sheet or my [gut] feelings to call the shots?…Computer tools are meant to aid me in my decision, not
overturn or force me into a decision.
Most managers admit that one reason they fail to detect
and process signals about impending project failures is an
innate chauvinism about their abilities. Hammond,
Keeney, and Raiffa (1998) refer to this as the “overconfidence trap.” Prietula and Simon (1989) point out that instead of following rules and procedures, experts are more
inclined to rely on heuristics for task execution. Similarly,
managers seldom follow through with all necessary analyses and protocols at each stage of a project evaluation;
they are more likely to base their judgments of the project’s health by relying on their intuition. As with cognitive dissonance, this often leads them to ignore facts that
convincingly indicate a project in trouble.
Why is it hard to react to
an identified sign?
fter the telltale signs have been identified, they
may or may not lead to a full-fledged runaway
problem. When they do, there are still plenty of
reasons why managers do not act on them. Moreover, even
issues that do not become full-fledged problems still need
corrective action. The key reasons for not reacting rationally to signs are conforming evidence, the status quo, sunk
costs, power battles, and, surprisingly, harmony.
Conforming evidence
The conforming evidence trap is a variant of the cognitive
dissonance theory, or the need for self-justification, in
which conflicting information is given little attention or
ignored altogether. Our results attest to the saliency of this
trap in preventing the plug from being pulled on a runaway project. The tendency to “hear only what you want to
hear” is the pivotal governing cause. Though no one willingly admits to falling victim to this trap, we deduced its
prominence through our discussions with project managers and by evaluating secondary evidence.
One manager remarked that the reason he did not stop a
certain project earlier was because he was presented with a
statement that showed the team was on target. But when
we viewed the statement, it was clear to us that the manager had not seen it in total—the project summary had a
series of footnotes from a senior software engineer notifying the manager of the need to shell out an additional
$50,000 for unplanned expenses. Of course, another issue
here is information asymmetry: the subordinate may not
have wanted to display problems prominently because of
the consequences, so he passed the buck to the principal,
who was already operating under conditions of bounded
rationality and cognitive dissonance.
Maintaining the status quo
Decision makers have strong biases toward making judgments that meet the status quo. Going against it means
opening themselves to criticism and risking damage to
their egos. They rationalize their decisions to meet common norms because it is a much safer route. Thus, managers opt to let projects run away rather than admit they
have made a mistake. Not surprisingly, in firms where the
notion of failing in an assignment was heavily frowned
upon, managers were less likely to admit their fault. We
also saw evidence for the “mum” effect, in which the team
members of a runaway project were reluctant to blow the
whistle on the project manager and speak out. A key reason for this is the current uncertainty in the IT marketplace. One software engineer reported:
If the economy were in better shape, many of us
would have left…as half of the projects we work on
are viewed down on.…If I speak out, I’ll be on the
Both project managers and team members are thus guilty
of maintaining the status quo and allowing projects to
run away from them.
There are other related issues, such as the difficulty of admitting to a mistake because of the stigma such an event
carries in a firm. Delaying the problem, or at least hoping
it will go away or be inherited by someone else, is a valid
strategy under that premise. There is also the likelihood
that certain managers may engage in post hoc changes to
the project’s assumptions or original conditions. It is well
known that updates to project tracking software are often
made late or not at all. Hence, one can manipulate the
“portrayed reality” of a project by the information entered
into the project management software. The problems
shown at the time of updating can be (fictitiously) alleviated by changing the original numbers, a practice occasionally conducted to delay drawing attention to an ailing
project. A final consideration is annual merit reviews,
which decide bonuses, promotions, and tenure. We found
that a project manager is more likely to keep spending on
a runaway project in the last quarter of the year, rather
than let his current year’s review be affected.
Thus, keeping up with the status quo can be summed up
as the continued support of a project until its resources
run dry due to the procrastination of dealing with reality.
In all of the above cases, cognitive dissonance plays an
extremely important role in explaining the resulting escalation of commitment.
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)
Y. Awazu et al. / Stopping runaway IT projects
Sunk costs
A common belief among project managers, even in the
face of mounting losses, is, “We’ve already invested in it
so let’s follow through on it.” However, runaway projects,
regardless of continued investment, are never going to
become profitable. Because many managers are evaluated
on the percentage of projects they complete, they see project termination as a big negative. In support of previous
research on this sunk costs trap, we found that decision
makers are less likely to continue on a failed project if
they are given alternative projects in which to invest. But
in reality, such flexibility is seldom granted to project
A common belief among project
managers, even in the face of
mounting losses, is, “We’ve
already invested in it, so let’s
follow through on it.”
managers. They are allotted a fixed budget, and the movement of funds between projects is much easier said than
done. Hence, a project manager may rationalize his continued commitment to a failed action until his pot of
resources runs dry. This also extends the time for having
to face the reality of failure.
Power battles
When two or more decision makers of equal power and
status run into conflict, their desire is to protect their
agendas at all costs. Hence, project management can turn
into a power battle. Analyses and decisions are seldom
made in the project’s interests; they are made to protect
the egos of the decision makers. What transpires is a finger-pointing, head-butting game. One manager sends his
analysis to his counterpart, who seldom pays any attention to the details of it, instead sending it back with his
own analysis, and so on. Each one feels that the other’s
analysis is based on ego rather than on hard facts. This
constant moving of documents continues until someone
intervenes in the project or the resources run dry.
The trite opposite of the power battle trap is when project
members like or respect their peers and try not to hurt
their feelings by telling them they are following the wrong
course of action and must quit. An outcome of falling
into such a trap is that the project leaders conduct a series
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)
of harmonious meetings in which everyone is nice to each
other, thereby reinforcing bad decisions. It also leads to a
variant of the bystander effect, in which one waits for
one’s peer to bring up the thought of axing the project
and/or take charge of its termination. One manager put it
well: “I was waiting for Jack to call the shot. He’s a year
senior to me and I respect his judgment on such matters.”
Managerial interventions
o what can managers do to keep from falling victim
to these difficulties, both when identifying issues
and when making decisions on an identified problem? We present a set of recommendations that can help
alleviate some of these concerns and reduce the occurrence of runaway projects.
1. Create checks and controls.
A critical problem in issue identification is that incentives
for detecting issues are not clearly stated. In fact, managers may actually receive disincentives to identify issues
because the problems they unearth could point toward
decisions that would harm their standing in the organization, or others’ perceptions of their competence. Therefore, the project team must create formalized checks and
controls that de-personalize issue identification and eliminate the risk of “shooting the messenger.” Without the
potential of becoming a scapegoat, a manager has more
incentive to identify issues before they get out of control.
Having checks and balances is beneficial for another reason: As one moves up the ranks, rewards and compensations are not based on the activities one completes but on
how profitable one’s sector or department has been. Thus,
it is in the best interest of senior managers and vice presidents to keep close tabs on their project managers and
prevent runaways.
2. Do not let project managers become
Contrary to popular wisdom, IT advancements generally
make the job of project management harder rather than
easier. We sympathize with project managers who have to
manage more than three projects concurrently. Moreover,
most of these managers are administrators in some role—
department heads, product development specialists, even
vice presidents. Having to handle administrative tasks as
well as project tasks makes it impossible for them to get
out of the attention deficit trap. Companies can take
some of the load off of project managers by delegating
their more general tasks to the HR or department managers and allowing them to focus exclusively on their
project endeavors. Another option is to hire and train
more employees in project management methods. These
Y. Awazu et al. / Stopping runaway IT projects
individuals can then be called upon to lead projects as
warranted by organizational endeavors.
3. Manage overload and attention.
To manage the information overload syndrome, one has
to either increase information stream resources or deal
with lower volumes of information. Most managers are
starved for the right information at the right time to conduct actions. But getting it to them can be difficult; nor
does it ensure that the right decision will be executed.
Each project should have a designated “information manager” whose task would be to assimilate information and
data from various entities in the project and make it presentable in a form that is actionable. The information
manager could be a human, or it could be a machine—
sort of like a car dashboard, which shows the car’s vital
signs at a glance. Project managers can then act on the
right information at appropriate time intervals.
4. Mitigate overconfidence and the bias
for conforming evidence.
Alleviating these two traps calls for a change in managerial behavior. We recommend Ann Langley’s 1995 article,
“Between ‘Paralysis by Analysis' and ‘Extinction by Instinct”; it does an excellent job of highlighting how overreliance on heuristics and instincts can be devastating
while being overly cautious serves little value. We would
add only one more intervention: Again, have checks and
balances. Project managers are often let loose on their
own to run the show, which can be a double-edged
sword. It may promote ease in decision making through
the decentralization of authority. But an executive who
has, say, 10 or 15 project managers reporting to him may
be detached from the daily operations of each project,
which prevents him from being an effective leader of his
constituent project managers. The lack of supervision will
lead to issues of overconfidence and conforming evidence
going unchecked. A firm can also mitigate the conforming
evidence trap by having another pair of eyes examine
project details, logs, and performance.
5. Formalize channels of dissonant
Today we have formalized and institutionalized searches
for information that clearly supports projects, hence creating a rosy picture. The counterweight to this is the concurrent institutionalization of the search for negative pieces of
information. The fact that both are institutionalized again
creates the acceptance of issue identification, even when
that affects a firm or an individual negatively. Project
managers should be challenged to search for negative or
dissonant information in their assignments. Moreover,
employees that provide such information should be
rewarded rather than shunned or penalized.
6. Listen to the whistles.
One sure way to prevent a project manger from going
along with the status quo and falling into the sunk costs
trap is to encourage whistle-blowing. Rather than having
a negative connotation, whistle-blowing is a means to
bring necessary attention to a failing project. We like to
think of it as an “SOS” (“Save Our Souls”) signal. Each
Setting up a captain and a cocaptain at the outset prevents
power struggles and encourages
each of them to serve as a check
and balance for the other.
member of the project team needs to be able to use such
a signal to bring attention to an impending catastrophe
and save the project. An SOS signal is good only if people
take notice, so a reward system must encourage saving resources by stopping runaways. Moreover, project managers
need to be rewarded for the money they save when resources are reallocated.
7. Stimulate harmonious battles.
The notion of “harmonious battles” may seem like an
oxymoron, but it merits attention. A project should be
headed by a single individual. Having two or more leaders with equal power and control of resources creates a
fertile environment for runaways. If a project needs the
expertise of two project managers of the same caliber, a
clear decision needs to be made at the outset as to which
has responsibility over the project’s fate. This is like commanding an aircraft. Even though both the pilot and the
co-pilot are individuals of significant experience who
respect each other, the pilot is in charge of the flight. This
is not to say that at some time in the near future, when
the two of them serve on a different flight mission, their
roles may be switched. Setting up a captain and a co-captain at the outset prevents power struggles and encourages
each of them to serve as a check and balance for the other.
The learning factor
lthough the first line of defense will always be the
implementation of better issue detection mechanisms, a close second is to promote learning on
how to deal with runaway projects as they happen. Here
we propose a set of behaviors that in the long run will
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)
Y. Awazu et al. / Stopping runaway IT projects
reinforce the learning of skills that improve project managers’ ability to deal with problems.
1. Make post hoc changes impossible.
This may be as simple as fixing/freezing the system in
which the original forecasts were created. The larger view
to this is the need to create a careful control system that
can point out when changes in the actual processes start
to override those that were predicted or budgeted. The
European Space Agency (ESA) created a project management software program that is deeply connected to its
billing system. An outsourcer can only bill for a milestone
that has been completed and marked as such in the software. Changes to a project can be made, but they require
consequent changes in the legal contracts. Only then will
they be depicted in the billing system. This gives managers an opportunity to improve their problem-solving
skills by getting immediate feedback on which actions are
best and what is the most likely course of action to bear
fruit over the long run.
2. Decrease the perceived cost of
Certain organizations understand that the secret of great
creativity is the accepted cost of making mistakes. This is
the case with 3M, where the organizational culture fosters
innovation. The development of the Post-It Note has
drawn much attention for the chain events that led to the
successful product. Conversely, a firm in which mistakes
are frowned upon or punished will tend to have members
who are afraid of getting caught “erring” and who stay
with the chosen course of action, even if it is a much
worse option in the long run.
3. Improve the ease of information
An obvious problem is that although parts of the IT firm,
particularly line programmers, may already know that
their component of the project will be delayed, the project
manager may not be aware of the ripple effect on other
components. Part of the reason for such a shortcoming is
that information is not necessarily or easily shared. The
solution is to enforce a good knowledge management
tool that documents such milestones and reasons for
delays. In fact, ESA’s Web-based solution ( is
also a knowledge management tool rolled into its project
management and invoicing systems. Managers anywhere
in the firm are able to understand why a certain project is
late or over budget because of the requirement that all
information be documented for bills to be paid. In fact,
outsourcers have direct access to parts of the system to
keep all their information up-to-date. Besides technology
mechanisms, people-based mechanisms such as the steering of informal networks are also beneficial for informa-
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)
tion sharing. As Desouza (2003) reports, a lot of knowledge and information travels through the grapevine, so
the use of coffee rooms and game rooms has become
popular for fostering the exchange of information and
tacit knowledge. These could also be valuable avenues to
disseminate lessons learned about runaway projects.
roject management will never be an exact science.
Our intention here is to provide guidelines that
can at least help move it into the realm of a disciplined art. All of the interventions discussed here could
be applied in the proactive or reactive phase of a project.
Ideally, if applied proactively, they can alleviate the need
for being reactive. Two interventions, however, deserve
special attention in the proactive stage. First is managing
the information load problem. The information explosion
is not expected to level off or slow down. Hence, firms
must realize that managing information about, from, and
in projects needs to be undertaken systematically. Second
is sending out SOS signals. Drawing on its traditional
meaning, an SOS signal is valuable only if souls can be
saved before death. Acting on it after a calamity or catastrophe has occurred and damage is complete is obviously
of little value. At best, the firm can conduct a postmortem
to learn project management lessons for the future. ❍
References and selected bibliography
Agre, Gene P. 1982. The concept of problem. Educational Studies
13/2 (Summer): 121-142.
Brockner, Joel. 1992. The escalation of commitment to a failing
course of action: Toward theoretical progress. Academy of Management Review 17/1 (January): 39-61.
Desouza, Kevin C. 2003. Facilitating tacit knowledge exchange,
Communications of the ACM 46/6 (June): 85-88.
Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. 1989. Agency theory: An assessment and
review. Academy of Management Review 14/1 (January): 57-74.
Festinger, Leon. 1957. A theory of cognitive dissonance. Evanston,
IL: Row Peterson.
Garland, Howard. 1990. Throwing good money after bad: The
effect of sunk costs on the decision to escalate commitment to
an ongoing project. Journal of Applied Psychology 75/6 (December): 728-731.
Hammond, John S., Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa. 1998.
The hidden traps in decision making. Harvard Business Review
76/5 (September-October): 47-58.
Harrison, Paul D., and Adrian Harrell. 1993. Impact of “adverse
selection” on managers’ project evaluation decisions. Academy
of Management Journal 36/3 (June): 635-643.
Johnson, Jim. 1995. CHAOS: The dollar drain of IT project failures. Application Development Trends 2/1 (January): 41-47.
Jones, Capers. 1994. Assessment and control of software risks. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Yourdon Press.
Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. 1979. Prospect theory: An
analysis of decisions under risk. Econometrica 47/2 (March):
Y. Awazu et al. / Stopping runaway IT projects
———. 1982. The psychology of preferences. Scientific American
246/1: 160-173.
Keil, Mark. 1995. Pulling the plug: Software project management
and the problem of project escalation. MIS Quarterly 19/4
(December): 421-447.
———, Paul E. Cule, Kalle Lyytinen, and Roy C. Schmidt. 1998.
A framework for identifying software project risks. Communications of the ACM 41/11 (November): 76-83.
Keil, Mark, and Joan Mann. 1997. The nature and extent of IT
project escalation: Results from a survey of IS audit and control professionals. IS Audit & Control Journal 1: 40-48.
———, and Arun Rai. 2000. Why software projects escalate: An
empirical analysis and test of four theoretical models. MIS
Quarterly 24/4 (December): 631-664.
Keil, Mark, and Ramiro Montealegre. 2000. Cutting your losses:
Extricating your organization when a big project goes awry.
Sloan Management Review 41/3 (Spring): 55-68.
KPMG. 1995. Runaway projects—cause and effect. Software
World 26/3: 3-5.
Langley, Ann. 1995. Between “paralysis by analysis” and “extinction by instinct.” Sloan Management Review 36/3 (Spring): 63-76.
Neumann, Michael, and Rajiv Sabherwal. 1996. Determinants of
commitment to information systems development: A longitudinal investigation. MIS Quarterly 20/1: 23-54.
Nonaka, Ikujiro, and Hirotaka Takeuchi. 1995. The knowledgecreating company. New York: Oxford University Press.
Prietula, Michael J., and Herbert A. Simon. 1989. The experts in
your midst. Harvard Business Review 67/1 (January-February):
Simon, Herbert. 1996. The sciences of the artificial. Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press.
Smith, H. Jeff, Mark Keil, and Gordon Depledge. 2001. Keeping
mum as the project goes under: Toward an explanatory
model. Journal of Management Information Systems 18/2 (Fall):
Standish Group. 1994. Charting the seas of information technology.
Dennis, MA: The Standish Group.
Staw, Barry M., and Jerry Ross. 1978. Commitment to a policy
decision: A multi-theoretical perspective. Administrative Science
Quarterly 23 (March): 40-64.
Turner, J. Rodney. 1993. The handbook of project-based management. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Whyte, Glen. 1986. Escalating commitment to a course of
action: A reinterpretation. Academy of Management Review 11/2
(April): 311-321.
———. 1991. Decision failures: Why they occur and how to prevent them. Academy of Management Executive 5/3: 23-31.
Business Horizons 47/1 January-February 2004 (73-80)