1st April 2021

Knowledge Type

Case study


, Harvard Business Review

Major Project

Sony Ericsson Handset Development

Of Interest To

Consultants Contractors Leadership teams

How to Get Better at Killing Bad Projects


Fail fast, the adage goes, and move on to the next big idea. 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. This is when project leaders present their progress and findings to date, alongside updates to commercial expectations. Executives then decide whether to unlock funds for further development. For example, a project might have to pass reviews at one, three, and six-month milestones to determine whether it continues to promise return on the innovation investment.