A project well begun, is equivalent to getting half of it done. Similarly a project half terminated is equivalent to never getting it completed. It is never easy to gracefully terminate a project. Finishing a project is actually more difficult than starting a new one. The case study “A Systematic Approach to Project Termination” discusses that the issues relating to the termination of a project. The issues can be divided into two categories, intellectual and emotional. Intellectual issues include the identification of residual deliverables, finding and cancelling unnecessary outstanding tasks, closing of work orders and physical facilities, collecting and organizing historic data, and disposing of the material. Emotional issues include the loss of project spirit because of the fear of no future work, loss of interest in the remaining tasks stress, loss of project based motivation, loss of team identity, reassignment of personal, and diversion of effort. The case study discusses that the resolution of the intellectual and emotional problems within the scope of the project manager’s abilities. The case study also addresses the personal attributes of a project manager who brings projects to successful closure. The following paragraphs will discuss some examples and methods for successful termination of a project.
A natural termination of a project happens when the project’s goals are met. An unnatural termination can happen anytime during a project, regardless of the project meeting its set goals. The unnatural termination of a project can happen because of a breakdown in client/vendor relationships, a change in customer needs or due to lack of sufficient funds for the project. Highly successful projects can be terminated by the project sponsors when, the need for the project disappears or was met by a different source. Recently, changes to the United States military budget and graceful shut down of several projects were announced by government officials. The Obama administration was talking about unnatural termination and shutting down of some military projects before its scheduled closure. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta talked about the proposed changes to the U.S. military spending, "The current version of the Air Force’s Global Hawk drone program – which has had major cost overruns and poor reliability – would be terminated early. Last October, the Aerospace Industries Association, the major defense contractor group, predicted a million jobs could be lost from the ripple-effects of potential cuts in weapons procurement alone” (Smith, 2012).
In project planning, a plan procurements process includes consideration of potential sellers and the degree of influence a buyer has on acquisition decisions. Some of the tools and techniques used for the plan procurements process are make-or-buy analysis, expert judgment and contract types. So, in case of unnatural project termination, a close procurements process is needed. “The close...