What Happens When a Project Goes On Hold?

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Sometimes big changes happen during the middle of a project. If the changes are a barrier to progress, it may be time to put your project on hold.

Going on hold can be a challenge for both teams — everybody wants the project to move forward. But a project goes on hold because there are barriers to progress. Working through those barriers requires a specialized approach.

At EDUCO, we've successfully stopped, re-started, and delivered projects for our clients. As part of that learning process, we developed our project hold policy. It's designed to help both teams work together.

Going on hold is really about problem solving. We go on hold to:

  • Solve big problems, questions or barriers
  • Adjust to new and drastic changes in information
  • Create an updated plan for delivery, in response to the changes

Here's how it works.

When is a project officially on hold?

Even if we're communicating regularly, a project may need to go on hold. If there has been no production work on a project for more than 6 weeks, the project is officially "on hold." 

When production work has been stalled for more than 6 weeks, we're missing critical inputs from the client team. We usually need one or more of the following:

  • Decisions
  • Direction
  • Feedback
  • Committed Content (any content you've agreed to write)

What are the challenges with going on hold?

When projects go on hold for extended periods of time, the scope changes. Here are some of the common scope changes that happen when a project goes on hold:

  • New Feature Requests — During a hold, new features come up that are more important
  • Design — There may be additional design changes after a hold
  • Technology Changes — New or changing technologies, i.e. CRM or Marketing Automation software
  • New Content — We may need new content types (templates) for new content

Plus, both our teams have to spend extra effort restarting the project.

What happens to my hours when a project goes on hold?

If you have an existing website under EDUCO Support

EDUCO Support clients can take advantage of our flexible support hours budgeting:

  • All unused hours are rolled into your support agreement
  • When you're ready to re-start, we do a scope check to see what's changed. Then, we'll provide an updated hours quote based on the new scope
  • Once we have the updated scope, you can re-allocate support hours to this project

If this is your first website with EDUCO

If your website project goes on hold, your hours freeze. We won't do any production or track any development time until the hold is lifted. We'll work with you on an updated timeline for your project.

If your project is on hold for more than 3 months, this is a special circumstance — it means something dramatic has changed on your team. In that case, we start with a conversation, and we create a restart plan together.

How do I know if my scope has changed?

Every development project has a project backlog. When a project hold is lifted, we'll review your project backlog together. This includes:

  • User stories
  • Development tasks
  • Wireframe designs

Scope changes happen when:

  • We add new user stories
  • We change the technical details of development tasks
  • New wireframe designs are submitted

If your scope has changed, we'll review an updated project budget together.

Don't get discouraged

When a project goes on hold, it can feel frustrating. But usually, there's a pretty good reason that the project has stopped — something big is changing within your company.

Perhaps internal management priorities have changed. Or there are new and changing team members. Or there's been a major change in other technology partners.

When this happens, it's time to work together and create an updated plan. With new information comes new opportunities to refine and improve.

About the Author

Marty Vernon

Marty is Co-founder/Strategic Director at EDUCO. Connect with Marty on , LinkedIn or