Should we continue investing in that project? Should we stop it and start from fresh? Consultants and service designers often have to answer these questions. This type of question can drive much debate with clients. Especially when they already invested a lot of money in something. And it still doesn’t work. The common idea that people have is the following. « We already invested so much in that project; we can’t kill it. ». This way of thinking is the base for much of the useless software we see. Like the super hard to use software produced by big corporations and public services.
But you know what? They get it wrong. Economist has a title for this kind of investments: sunk costs. It’s all in the name. These costs are already out.
Whatever you do you can’t change the fact that you already spent the money.
Next time you have to consider if you should switch to another solution or not ask yourself the following question. Will it the future cost be higher if you switch or stay with the same solution? Don’t consider what you’ve already spent. Only what’s coming. If the cost of maintaining the same solution is higher than switching to a new, then switch! Thus, if you continue in investing in something that generates more costs, then you are just dumb.