Tom DeMarco has an article in the latest IEEE Software in which he gives an example of two hypothetical software projects. Both are expected to cost around a million dollars. One is expected to return a value of 1.1 million and the other 50 million. Financial controls are crucial for the former but not for the latter. He concludes
… strict control is something that matters a lot on relatively useless projects and much less on useful projects. It suggests that the more you focus on control, the more likely you’re working on a project that’s striving to deliver something of relatively minor value.
Thanks to John MacIntyre for pointing out Tom DeMarco’s article.