Acknowledgment for a Terminated Project

by Harold Kerzner, Ph.D.

Acknowledgment for a Terminated Project


  1. You are managing a strategic project that, right from the start, was considered to be a very high risk. Technical breakthroughs would need to occur for the project to be a total success. Significant funds were committed to the project provided that promising results would occur. When it appeared that the promising results would not happen, even with the expenditure of significantly more funding, management opted to terminate the project. Management believed that they would now be throwing good money after bad money if they continued. The project manager should:
  1. Say nothing to the team and let them proceed to their next assignment
  2. Tell the team how disappointed you are that they did not make the necessary breakthrough
  3. Thank the team for all of their efforts and the risks they had to take, even though no fruitful results were obtained.
  4. Tell their functional managers that they were unable to perform correctly



  1. Answers B and D are the worst possible choices because these people will never want to work for you again, nor will they want to work on any high-risk projects. (no points) Answer A is what may project managers actually do and this leaves people with the impression that you are disappointed in their work, regardless of the risks. (1 point) Answer C is the best choice. (4 points)


Epilogue: Not all projects are going to be successful. People are expected to take risks in order to produce results. People must be rewarded for the risks they take and should be encouraged to continue taking such risks. The project manager must thank people for the risks they took and encourage they to not to give up, but to continue their efforts.


[Reference: Judith W. Umlas, Grateful Leadership, McGraw Hill and IIL Co-publishers, 2013]