Meeting/Event Information

Why Projects Are So Hard to Kill

April 11, 2018
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Radisson Hotel Rochester Airport
175 Jefferson Rd
Rochester, NY 14623


Bad projects abound, and research by PMI and others has provided useful insight into the underlying causes of bad projects. This presentation looks beyond why projects go bad into why bad projects are so hard to kill. It explains how sunk cost, groupthink, escalation of commitment, and conflicts of interest contribute to keeping death march projects needlessly alive. Each of these behaviors is defined and illustrated using project stories from history (the Titanic and the Concord jetliner), project stories from the author's own personal experience climbing some of the world's tallest mountains (McKinley, Aconcagua, and Kilimanjaro), and project stories from business (Abilene Paradox and industry-funded soda studies). Some recently published research about the neural science underlying these behaviors is referenced. The impact of these behaviors is described and then linked to the undercutting of ethics, trust, leadership, and project success. A list of actions is provided that project managers can take to help avoid being victimized by bad projects.


Michael O’Brochta, ACP, PMP,  has managed hundreds of projects during the past thirty years, is an experienced line manager, author, lecturer, trainer, and consultant. He holds a master's degree in project management, a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, and is certified as an ACP and a PMP. As Zozer Inc. President, he is helping organizations raise their level of project management performance.

As Senior project manager at the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), he led the development of highly complex top secret projects, programs, and systems; and he led the development of the project management and systems engineering training and certification program to mature practices agency-wide. Mr. O'Brochta led the development of standards and courses for the new U.S. Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers. He supported FAC-P/PM programs by providing subject matter expertise for instructional design and delivery to the Federal Acquisition Institute and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

He served at the PMI corporate level as Chair the Ethics Member Advisory Group where he led the development of the ethical decision-making framework and the new PMI ethics website; he is a graduate of the Leadership Institute Mater Class. Mr. O’Brochta has written and presented papers each of the past 17 years at PMI Global Congress events as well as at hundreds of international, and regional conferences. He is passionate about how to get executives to act for project success, great project managers, and how to kill bad projects. Since his recent climb of another of the world’s seven summits, he has been exploring the relationship between project management and mountain climbing.

PDUs Earned:

  • 1.00 Strategic and Business Management PDU



5:30-6:00 pm

Registration and Networking

6:00-6:55 pm

Buffet Dinner

6:55-7:55 pm

Presentation by Michael O’Brochta

7:55-8:00 pm



$20.00 Member Ticket
$15.00 Earlybird rate before April 4

$30.00 Guest Ticket
$25.00 Earlybird rate before April 4


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