Project Success, Failure – Continuance and Termination

No project would be initiated if it were expected to fail. On the other hand most projects in Bio/pharmaceutical R&D fail. One would think that a successful project would have a distinct end point. Yet discovery projects that succeed in launching a candidate drug for clinical trials are often kept alive in the hope that such projects may launch even better clinical candidates if the teams only work harder or longer or with information that comes from the clinic.

Certainly one might expect that a project that fails would have a distinct end point. Yet the scientists involved in the project may want to keep working on the project to try other approaches that might lead to success. In other words, a project might terminate due to perceived failure, but the science continues – it’s rarely “pipettes down”. If the scientists succeed, then there might be a desire to restart the project. External information may also invigorate a terminated project – patent information, a scientific publication or an in-licensing candidate.