Project managers learn one of the most important things on training courses: a project has a beginning, middle, and end. Unfortunately, you will come across projects outside of the classroom that don’t work as planned.

What is a “Zombie Project”?
How to spot a dead project
A case study on how to kill zombie projects
How to finish that zombie project
How to spot a project manager who is a zombie

KPMG’s survey found that only 30% of organizations are likely deliver projects on-time.
You might be dealing with a zombie project if the time allocated to a project grows — and then continues to expand — and again.
What is a “Zombie Project”?
What does “zombie project” mean? Here’s a definition.
A zombie project is one that doesn’t end. It consumes resources and continues to exist because no one has the courage or foresight to end it.
Don’t let a project get stalled by accepting every scope change, picking up all operational work, and ignoring requests for new functionality or additions.
This doesn’t make one a project manager; it makes you an operating team leader. However, you might find that there is a valuable long-term product management position for you if this is how you prefer to work.
Zombie PM is a term that I invented in 2010, when I created a project management alphabet.
Now that I have children who play Minecraft, we seem able to talk about zombies or zoombies (the baby zombies that are apparently very fast) almost every mealtime. It feels that way at least!
How to spot a dead project
Operational work and projects coexist on large programs. It is possible that you will be asked to become involved in operational work at some point during your project management career. It may seem like your project never ends.
Zombies projects are not used in day-to-day operations. These are projects that:
Structure is lacking
Poor management
Poor oversight can lead to poor decisions.
Lack of governance

They are mindless, much like the zombies in movies. The project managers and teams that lead them don’t ask the fundamental question: Why? Why is it so difficult? Why is this project necessary?
These projects should be shut down if they can’t be saved and made into something useful. They are consuming valuable resources that could be better used to work on something else.
Next: How to Save a Failing Project (ebook).
A case study on how to kill zombie projects
You’re now on a zombie project. You are not the only one.
Derek Huether, an agile coach and trainer, says, “I used to be an advisor to a U.S. Government POMO.”
He continues:
It was a traditional PMO with certified professionals who did excellent work in very specific areas. We had budget specialists and schedule specialists, earned value specialists, as well as contract specialists. They were all very traditional, with one exception. They never ended!”
He might have been able forgive the long timelines if the PMO was responsible for managing projects relating to the construction of battleships and the next generation interstate highway system.
He says, “I know these would take many years to plan and execute.” “But this PMO was managing both software development and operation. Hence, these projects never finished and never delivered any value. Why didn’t they die? These were zombie projects.
Derek was faced with a number of projects that simply took up space and Derek had to make a decision.
He says, “I would love to say that I killed off all these zombie projects or at the very least put them back on track to delivering value for taxpayers.” “Also, if your a zombie movie connoisseur, lik