According to the PMBOK Guide, Fourth Edition, a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. The end is reached when a project's objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists.
A project can be terminated for several reasons. Let's look at some of the reasons:
- Project achieved it's objectives and has been completed successfully; for example, the new application has been installed successfully and handed over to the customer
- Change in market conditions; technical advances in the field have rendered the project obsolete; let's say your company is developing a new hard disk model, but your competition has already come out with a higher capacity, faster and more energy efficient model.
- Change in external environment; for instance, the current economic crisis has brought about the termination of numerous project across the globe.
- Project is not viable anymore; for example, due to sudden increase in raw material costs, it's no longer viable to continue the project
- Cost overrun; project has consumed all the allocated budget
- Budget constraints or funding cuts
- Project cannot be completed (or has not been completed) in the allocated time; say if you order a special dress for your wedding, but it's not delivered in time for the wedding, would you still need it? Not unless optimism triumphs experience and you want to make another attempt :)
- Technical reasons, such as discovery of a serious design flaw in the product of the project that is too costly to fix
- Change in organization's strategic goals
- Competing priorities within the organization
- Lack of resources - human and/or equipment
- Political reasons
- Whims of senior management
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Default on contract
In a follow-up article, we'll review the varieties of project termination - Termination by Extinction (and Murder), Termination by Integration, Termination by Addition and Termination by Starvation. So, stay tuned.
Image Credit: Flickr / meškašiaurėj