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Project Interruption and Restart
There are projects that have to be stopped despite the hope of being resumed when this pandemic passes

What recommendations would you make if you had to interrupt an ongoing project?

What difficulties do you foresee that there will be in restarting interrupted projects?
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Luis...

We are seeing projects stall due to supply chain slowness, subcontractor outages and customer restrictions. We are staging and preparing what we are able however once we see the other side of this outbreak and normal starts to return, we believe we will be inundated with requests to fast track projects to meet new imposed (albeit late) deadlines. We will need to work with the stakeholders, prioritize our projects and available resources (parts and labor) to meet the customer needs and expectations. Those projects that can wait, will need to wait. Start to review this impact now, not when normal starts to return and the calls start to come in.
...
2 replies by Luis Branco and Michael Hilbert
Mar 19, 2020 7:38 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Michael

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

Interesting what you wrote: "Start to review this impact now, not when normal starts to return and the calls start to come in."

Do you have any specific recommendations to make regarding the projects you have to suspend?
Mar 19, 2020 8:26 AM
Michael Hilbert
...
Evaluating, reviewing and planning is what we all do. Start to look at the project status and the customer situation and project where each may be 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks from now. It will be a fluid process and will need to be monitored over time. Have a Plan for the when the Sun comes back out!
Dear Luis,

In this cases normally i follow a very pragmatic approach , the actions for me when a project is interrupted are the following:
1 - make a meeting to obtain the current status and progress of the project.
2 - Use the meeting also to gathering information about the team motivation and lessons learned, problems, pitfalls, achievements,
and manage the expectations of the team, who knows the project
could loose is window of opportunity and be canceled in the future.
3 - store all needed information for posterior use.
4 - The pause hopeful will be a good time to reflect about solutions that the project might have, and the possible scenarios in the future, project continuation or cancellation....
5 - if the project starts i foresee shortage of funds, probably some team members will not be available, so a contingency plan must be prepared before the restart of the project.
6 - Very possible situation is a drastic change on requirements depending of interruption duration or to change of priorities due to the crisis.

I think there are many points to reflect in situations like such,and each business area will have his specific domain challenges.

Alexandre
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Mar 19, 2020 7:41 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Alexandre

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

Interesting points you mentioned and called: "In this cases normally i follow a very pragmatic approach"
Mar 19, 2020 7:08 AM
Replying to Michael Hilbert
...
Luis...

We are seeing projects stall due to supply chain slowness, subcontractor outages and customer restrictions. We are staging and preparing what we are able however once we see the other side of this outbreak and normal starts to return, we believe we will be inundated with requests to fast track projects to meet new imposed (albeit late) deadlines. We will need to work with the stakeholders, prioritize our projects and available resources (parts and labor) to meet the customer needs and expectations. Those projects that can wait, will need to wait. Start to review this impact now, not when normal starts to return and the calls start to come in.
Dear Michael

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

Interesting what you wrote: "Start to review this impact now, not when normal starts to return and the calls start to come in."

Do you have any specific recommendations to make regarding the projects you have to suspend?
Mar 19, 2020 7:13 AM
Replying to Alexandre Costa
...
Dear Luis,

In this cases normally i follow a very pragmatic approach , the actions for me when a project is interrupted are the following:
1 - make a meeting to obtain the current status and progress of the project.
2 - Use the meeting also to gathering information about the team motivation and lessons learned, problems, pitfalls, achievements,
and manage the expectations of the team, who knows the project
could loose is window of opportunity and be canceled in the future.
3 - store all needed information for posterior use.
4 - The pause hopeful will be a good time to reflect about solutions that the project might have, and the possible scenarios in the future, project continuation or cancellation....
5 - if the project starts i foresee shortage of funds, probably some team members will not be available, so a contingency plan must be prepared before the restart of the project.
6 - Very possible situation is a drastic change on requirements depending of interruption duration or to change of priorities due to the crisis.

I think there are many points to reflect in situations like such,and each business area will have his specific domain challenges.

Alexandre
Dear Alexandre

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

Interesting points you mentioned and called: "In this cases normally i follow a very pragmatic approach"
...
1 reply by Alexandre Costa
Mar 19, 2020 8:14 AM
Alexandre Costa
...
Dear Luis,

I called "in this cases" because this made me remember some of the crisis situations that a i faced due to my past career as military. So I have already faced humanitarian crisis, Enforce Peace Missions crisis and also Fire and Floods control crisis. So what's is new for me in this moment, is the fact that i am not in the front line of the crisis and the evidence of a large world crisis which causes the problem to be more complex.

Alexandre
Back in 2009 I wrote an article titled "Your Project has been targeted for termination - now what?" which is apropos to your topic:

"Termination of a large active project is like undergoing root canal surgery - intellectually you may realize that you need to have it in order to avoid serious long term impacts but that does not help to reduce the trauma associated with the event. The Kübler-Ross model of how individuals deal with traumatic situations is apropos when understanding the personal impacts of project termination. In the economic rollercoaster of the recent past, we have all likely experienced the fallout of having the plug pulled on a project into which we had invested significant blood, sweat and tears (whether as a project manager or a team member).


While we can acknowledge that the project team and stakeholders are going through these phases, a project manager needs to be able to guide the team through this challenging time in order to close out the project in a professional fashion. With that in mind, how can project termination affect some key project closeout activities?

Operational Transition

Unless there were no useful deliverables produced over the project's lifetime, there is going to be the need to transition products, processes or services to an operational state. The operational owners for these deliverables should have been identified up front during project planning and should be ready to receive these deliverables, but there may be the need to provide training or other knowledge transfer that was likely planned for a future date. There may also be multiple open project issues related to these deliverables that were also planned for future resolution. In both cases, additional activities may need to be completed to ensure that "the baby is not thrown out with the bath water". The effort, timelines and costs associated with this operational transition need to be estimated and this information needs to be presented to project sponsorship for approval so that the project team can proceed.

Contractual Closeout

The decision-making process leading up to project termination should have included an assessment of the costs or penalties associated with the early termination of open contracts. If it did not, this assessment needs to happen ASAP and vendor management or procurement may need to be engaged to assist with supplier negotiations. Once this has been done, termination clauses should be exercised and all open contracts can be closed out allowing the project team to finalize project financials.

Resource Evaluation, Recognition and Release

In some cases, resources are freed up from a terminated project to work on a higher priority project. This is the happiest of cases - in the worst of cases, termination in a projectized organization could result in resources being laid off. In both cases, it is crucial that the project manager effectively communicates with all team members, empathizes with affected team members and focuses on motivating the team to complete close out activities. This may require tangible or intangible incentives, pep talks, or one-on-one conversations to help the dissolving team stay on track. While resource evaluation prior to release from projects is a good idea in any circumstance, it is even more important in the case of project termination to help resources with future performance evaluations (or job interviews). Recognition is also important - although it may feel more like a wake than a celebration, there is morale-boosting value in organizing and holding a (modest) get together to recognize individual achievement.

Knowledge Capture

"We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success" - Samuel Smiles. I had previously written about the need to capture lessons learned throughout a project's lifetime, but if that has not been done, project termination provides a unique opportunity to interview team members and stakeholders when they are most likely to be conscious of what could have been done in a different fashion. While it may seem akin to pouring salt in an open wound, this practice is a good way to ensure that lessons are truly getting learned.

While this is not an exhaustive list, your organization's project management method should include a checklist or guidance that covers the specific activities that need to occur when projects are terminated.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Mar 19, 2020 8:10 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion
Mar 19, 2020 7:56 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Back in 2009 I wrote an article titled "Your Project has been targeted for termination - now what?" which is apropos to your topic:

"Termination of a large active project is like undergoing root canal surgery - intellectually you may realize that you need to have it in order to avoid serious long term impacts but that does not help to reduce the trauma associated with the event. The Kübler-Ross model of how individuals deal with traumatic situations is apropos when understanding the personal impacts of project termination. In the economic rollercoaster of the recent past, we have all likely experienced the fallout of having the plug pulled on a project into which we had invested significant blood, sweat and tears (whether as a project manager or a team member).


While we can acknowledge that the project team and stakeholders are going through these phases, a project manager needs to be able to guide the team through this challenging time in order to close out the project in a professional fashion. With that in mind, how can project termination affect some key project closeout activities?

Operational Transition

Unless there were no useful deliverables produced over the project's lifetime, there is going to be the need to transition products, processes or services to an operational state. The operational owners for these deliverables should have been identified up front during project planning and should be ready to receive these deliverables, but there may be the need to provide training or other knowledge transfer that was likely planned for a future date. There may also be multiple open project issues related to these deliverables that were also planned for future resolution. In both cases, additional activities may need to be completed to ensure that "the baby is not thrown out with the bath water". The effort, timelines and costs associated with this operational transition need to be estimated and this information needs to be presented to project sponsorship for approval so that the project team can proceed.

Contractual Closeout

The decision-making process leading up to project termination should have included an assessment of the costs or penalties associated with the early termination of open contracts. If it did not, this assessment needs to happen ASAP and vendor management or procurement may need to be engaged to assist with supplier negotiations. Once this has been done, termination clauses should be exercised and all open contracts can be closed out allowing the project team to finalize project financials.

Resource Evaluation, Recognition and Release

In some cases, resources are freed up from a terminated project to work on a higher priority project. This is the happiest of cases - in the worst of cases, termination in a projectized organization could result in resources being laid off. In both cases, it is crucial that the project manager effectively communicates with all team members, empathizes with affected team members and focuses on motivating the team to complete close out activities. This may require tangible or intangible incentives, pep talks, or one-on-one conversations to help the dissolving team stay on track. While resource evaluation prior to release from projects is a good idea in any circumstance, it is even more important in the case of project termination to help resources with future performance evaluations (or job interviews). Recognition is also important - although it may feel more like a wake than a celebration, there is morale-boosting value in organizing and holding a (modest) get together to recognize individual achievement.

Knowledge Capture

"We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success" - Samuel Smiles. I had previously written about the need to capture lessons learned throughout a project's lifetime, but if that has not been done, project termination provides a unique opportunity to interview team members and stakeholders when they are most likely to be conscious of what could have been done in a different fashion. While it may seem akin to pouring salt in an open wound, this practice is a good way to ensure that lessons are truly getting learned.

While this is not an exhaustive list, your organization's project management method should include a checklist or guidance that covers the specific activities that need to occur when projects are terminated.
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion
Mar 19, 2020 7:41 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Alexandre

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

Interesting points you mentioned and called: "In this cases normally i follow a very pragmatic approach"
Dear Luis,

I called "in this cases" because this made me remember some of the crisis situations that a i faced due to my past career as military. So I have already faced humanitarian crisis, Enforce Peace Missions crisis and also Fire and Floods control crisis. So what's is new for me in this moment, is the fact that i am not in the front line of the crisis and the evidence of a large world crisis which causes the problem to be more complex.

Alexandre
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Mar 19, 2020 11:44 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Alexandre
Thank you for sharing with us the conclusions you have drawn from your experiences

We can use these 6 points as a reference for reflection and adapt to our projects
Mar 19, 2020 7:08 AM
Replying to Michael Hilbert
...
Luis...

We are seeing projects stall due to supply chain slowness, subcontractor outages and customer restrictions. We are staging and preparing what we are able however once we see the other side of this outbreak and normal starts to return, we believe we will be inundated with requests to fast track projects to meet new imposed (albeit late) deadlines. We will need to work with the stakeholders, prioritize our projects and available resources (parts and labor) to meet the customer needs and expectations. Those projects that can wait, will need to wait. Start to review this impact now, not when normal starts to return and the calls start to come in.
Evaluating, reviewing and planning is what we all do. Start to look at the project status and the customer situation and project where each may be 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks from now. It will be a fluid process and will need to be monitored over time. Have a Plan for the when the Sun comes back out!
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Mar 19, 2020 11:46 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Michael

Thank you for sharing with us your opinion
Mar 19, 2020 8:14 AM
Replying to Alexandre Costa
...
Dear Luis,

I called "in this cases" because this made me remember some of the crisis situations that a i faced due to my past career as military. So I have already faced humanitarian crisis, Enforce Peace Missions crisis and also Fire and Floods control crisis. So what's is new for me in this moment, is the fact that i am not in the front line of the crisis and the evidence of a large world crisis which causes the problem to be more complex.

Alexandre
Dear Alexandre
Thank you for sharing with us the conclusions you have drawn from your experiences

We can use these 6 points as a reference for reflection and adapt to our projects
Mar 19, 2020 8:26 AM
Replying to Michael Hilbert
...
Evaluating, reviewing and planning is what we all do. Start to look at the project status and the customer situation and project where each may be 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks from now. It will be a fluid process and will need to be monitored over time. Have a Plan for the when the Sun comes back out!
Dear Michael

Thank you for sharing with us your opinion

Please login or join to reply

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