The traditional view is that the project manager is the project champion who defends the project against budget cuts and maintains the support of project team members and stakeholders. However, sometimes the right decision is not to continue the project but to terminate it. The project manager may have to go to project stakeholders and explain that the project results will not be achievable with the resources available to the organization. In this situation, the project manager may recommend that the project be killed.
However, there are possible alternatives to this draconian situation. The project manager should consider them before recommending that the project be terminated. For example, should the problem be that the organization does not have the trained staff or laboratory supplies and equipment needed to do some of the work required to achieve project results, outsourcing to obtain access to these resources is a possibility.
If the knowledge and technology needed to accomplish some project milestones do not exist within the project manager’s organization, the project manager may be able to take steps to access this knowledge or acquire this technology from an outside organization—other companies, research institutes, universities, government laboratories. Options include licensing technology or hiring new staff members (or temporary employees) to obtain access to this knowledge. Outsourcing or taking on outside organizations as project stakeholders may enable project managers to access the required technology not available within their own organizations. The project manager may also acquire this technology through the mechanism of open innovation.3 Project managers may not have the authority to do this on their own and may need the support of other managers within their own organizations or the support of outside stakeholders to accomplish this.