Project Management

Canceling a Project

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

Nobody likes to think about canceling a project when it is conceived. Big ideas are being thrown around and plans are being made for success. However, there is always a possibility that a project will be canceled--and there are even some good reasons to cancel projects. Just as a project manager develops a plan and a schedule to execute a project, there should also be, at the very least, a tentative plan on how to go about canceling and closing out a project before it is completed.

This article provides an overview of the basic steps that should be considered when a project is canceled. Creating a plan for what to do if a project is canceled is not planning for failure, but instead should be considered good planning just as risks are planned for and mitigated. While the factors leading to a project’s cancelation may be outside the project manager’s control, it is still important to do everything possible to gracefully end the project and help the resources and organization move past it.

Resource Roll-off
If the project is canceled, the project manager needs to create a schedule for rolling resources off of the project work. While it is possible that all resources will be immediately reassigned or let go, there is often some work that needs to be completed before the project can be closed down completely. This might include documenting the work that has …

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