As I sometimes do, I am writing this post based on the search phrase that found this blog “how to quit a project”, “can consultants quit without notice” and “quitting a project.

Strangely, the topic of leaving a project appears to be popular, these days. I would think it’s either consultants that are looking for a way out of a project, or customers afraid that consultants will find a way out of their project. Either way, it seems to pop-up particularly often.

Here are three factors:

  1. The Contract: Every has (should have) a contract. Whatever the terms state in that contract dictates whether you can get out of it. This will tell whether someone is legally allowed to quit without notice. Of course, most people view quitting without notice impolite, but that’s a different issue than having the ability to do so.
  2. Ethics: It’s considered ethical to try to stick with your agreement. If a project and a consultant have agreed the consultant will work on a project 2-3 months, than the consultant shouldn’t be angry if the project ends at 2 months nor should the customer be upset if the consultant stays three months and refuses to extend.
  3. Other Considerations: If a project goes on a little longer than planned, it’s usually considered “the right thing to do” for a consultant agree to extend a little bit to help finish it. If the project goes on a lot longer than planned, it’s more like discussing a new committment. Some people believe a consultant should always accept project extensions. However, if a project doesn’t turn out to be a good fit for a consultant’s skills, and it appears a waste of the customer’s money and the consultant’s time, that could be a good reason not to extend. There can be many factors, too, that cause a consultant to feel uncomfortable or to feel the situation is not appropriate, and these can also be valid reasons not to extend. However, to quit earlier than planned, some feel that it should take an extreme circumstance to cause this.

Some customers think that consultants like long contracts because of the stability. Some consultants like long contracts, others don’t. I don’t particularly like long contracts, although I do sometimes accept a long contracts when the project seems particularly interesting. But, to each their own.

Some consultants look at the expectations we have of employees, where an employee can find a new job and just give notice. It’s a different situation, though, as employees and consultants tend to get both different situations and different expectations.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises