Top Five Reasons to Terminate a Project

Imagine the despair when the project you initiate with lot of hopes and hard work, fails miserably. However sad it is, many projects miss the mark completely and lead to waste of time as well as efforts. It also comes out as a major blow to the project manager and shakes the confidence of all the team members involved in the project.

However, often team members can sense signs, which communicate that something is not right, that the project may not transform into what was envisioned. Sometimes the signs are clear and at times they are hidden. However, no matter which project you are working on, there are few alerts which shout out loud that it is in the best interest of the team and the company to terminate the project. Here are the red flags you should watch out for:

Expensive or does not meet company’s goal

Make an estimate of the total cost of the project in the planning stage itself. A few thousand dollars here and there are manageable, but when you see the figure going way over your approximate value, it is better to put an end to the project right in the initiation stage. Also, if the project does not go well with the strategic plan of the company, it should not be given the green signal.

Your competitors are doing a better job

As a project manager, you may be motivated to prove your mettle and take your company ahead in the market, but think logically and determine if it is possible. Many a times, you may be motivated at the start of the project but once you begin with it and have to face grave challenges one after another, the positive drive may fizzle out and you may be left with a project that is going nowhere. Even if you realize it midway on the project, do not hesitate to pull the plug.

Project gets out of control

When operations get way beyond control or when damages cannot be repaired anymore, you know it is time to terminate the project.

Important or priority project comes up

Businesses take up several projects simultaneously. However, there are some projects which need more time, energy and resources. If a certain project is stopping you from allocating the required resources in a bigger, important project, it is better to let go of the smaller project.

Failure in testing process

It is sad to see a project fail during testing. However, if the team members gave it all that they could and the project still could not succeed, putting an end to the project is a sensible choice rather than spending twice the energy and resources on it again.

2 Comments

  1. David C Martin 2016/07/01 at 12:16 - Reply

    In summary,the reasons for project termination can broadly be categorised into two;
    1. Termination by extinction: Which is the natural termination of the project simply because it has accomplished its deliverables.
    2. Termination by frustration: This is where the project is brought to an end not because it has accomplished its objectives but because it was affected by external factors that forced it to close for example natural catastrophes like floods; when the project goes out of control, poor planning coupled with inaccurate cost estimation Tec.

  2. Rod Spencer 2016/09/19 at 20:04 - Reply

    A subject few are willing to discuss! Excellent.

    Relating a recent experience…

    A project was underway for a year with an intense focus on achieving a morass of technical goals identified by the development team and managers. Great effort was expended in discussions and work to achieve these goals but limited end-user behaviors were demonstrably achieved.

    When I stepped into this project, I redirected the effort to redefine the goals as a collection demonstrable end-user behaviors with relative sizing to size to one-another. These behaviors were super categories for all the technical work. After about 8 weeks, with our new experience, we re-estimated the project based on WHAT BEHAVIORS not HOW WE DESIGN.

    I would say we fit two of your “Termination” categories; First, the project got out of control. But when we finally got it controlled, we soon discovered it was way too expensive.

    The project was cancelled.

    As I told my three Eagle Scout sons, honesty is not always popular.

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Top Five Reasons to Terminate a Project

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Imagine the despair when the project you initiate with lot of hopes and hard work, fails miserably. However sad it is, many projects miss the mark completely and lead to waste of time as well as efforts. It also comes out as a major blow to the project manager and shakes the confidence of all the team members involved in the project. However, often team members can sense signs, which communicate that something is not right, that the project may not transform into what was envisioned. Sometimes the signs are clear and at times they are hidden. However, no matter which project you are working on, there are few alerts which shout out loud that it is in the best interest of the team and the company to terminate the project. Here are the red flags you should watch out for:

Expensive or does not meet company’s goal

Make an estimate of the total cost of the project in the planning stage itself. A few thousand dollars here and there are manageable, but when you see the figure going way over your approximate value, it is better to put an end to the project right in the initiation stage. Also, if the project does not go well with the strategic plan of the company, it should not be given the green signal.

Your competitors are doing a better job

As a project manager, you may be motivated to prove your mettle and take your company ahead in the market, but think logically and determine if it is possible. Many a times, you may be motivated at the start of the project but once you begin with it and have to face grave challenges one after another, the positive drive may fizzle out and you may be left with a project that is going nowhere. Even if you realize it midway on the project, do not hesitate to pull the plug.

Project gets out of control

When operations get way beyond control or when damages cannot be repaired anymore, you know it is time to terminate the project.

Important or priority project comes up

Businesses take up several projects simultaneously. However, there are some projects which need more time, energy and resources. If a certain project is stopping you from allocating the required resources in a bigger, important project, it is better to let go of the smaller project.

Failure in testing process

It is sad to see a project fail during testing. However, if the team members gave it all that they could and the project still could not succeed, putting an end to the project is a sensible choice rather than spending twice the energy and resources on it again.

2015-01-23T11:38:28+00:00 1.1.2015|

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