I know that a decision node can be represented as a Diamond shape and flow is branched with Yes or No.

Now I need to draw a decision node, which is to say: "The project can be terminated at any step after its initiation; If not terminated, then it follows process flow down the path as per normal". How do I draw such decision? (Terminate / Not Terminate)


Two options stand out to me.

One option would be to have multiple levels of abstraction in your process. Depending on the process, two levels would be sufficient. The first level of abstraction can capture the start, process and decision point, and termination points. This probably works best if you have a relatively small number of termination states. You can then refer to another process flow diagram that decomposes the process into more fine-grained inputs, steps, decisions, outputs, etc. You may want to show some level of inputs and outputs on the higher level of abstraction, as well.

Another option would be to use the on-page and off-page connectors. This would probably be more useful if not every single process step had a termination possibility since it would get messy to have so many references to connectors.


I misread the OP and provided an unuseful answer. Let me try again:

I think you're trying to solve a problem that does not exist. A project is not a process and is not exhibited using a process flow. At best, you would have a network diagram (which can look similar), often incorrectly referred to as a PERT chart, to pictorially exhibit how work might flow. But that is wholly different than a process flow.

In a project, it is generally understood that a project could be terminated at any stage and does not require any type of node or package that specifically calls for a controlled go or no go decision. The only caveat to that is if one purposely puts such a control in to have a go or no go decision, such as at a milestone to signify "going live" or a "gate" to proceed. Other than that, it is just a generally understood concept.

In a process flow, there is an inherent "stop" work at each process step that does not require a decision node to represent it. The verticle line on the right-hand side of a process step box means exit criteria that have to be met for the work to continue in the process. If the work has not met the established exit criteria, then the next process step cannot start. A specific decision node does not have to be indicated in the process flow as that would be redundant.

But the premise of your question depends on attempting to exhibit a project as a process and I think the premise is not valid on its face.

  • My understanding of the original question is how do you get to this decision node, if every step in the process is able to get there. Depending on the process, that could be a lot of connecting lines between process steps and this decision node. I think the question is looking for a clean way to make it clear that this node applies to every step or any point in time in execution of the process.
    – Thomas Owens
    Oct 1 '21 at 11:04
  • 1
    Ugh! I misread. I'll edit shortly. Oct 1 '21 at 11:59

Build-in specific evaluation points in the plan to decide whether to proceed with the project

Welcome to PMSE!

I am afraid this is not a valid assumption:

The project can be terminated at any step after its initiation

You are missing two issues with discontinuing a project in the middle:

  1. A project cannot be terminated at the whims and fancies of a person. There needs to be objective criteria for terminating a project and evaluation as per these criteria need to be done.
  2. You can't always just dump a project in the middle. For example, you can't leave a half built bridge with beams hanging up in the air posing a hazard to the public. There will be costs associated with orderly closing of a project. Anyone terminating a project is signing up to these costs, not to forget the legal reneging on the contract problems.

So, my recommendation is to build-in specific evaluation points in the plan to decide whether to proceed with the project.

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