Close Your Project

Hello, I’m Dr. Mike Clayton, founder of online pm courses. And this is the fourth of our series of four short video seminars about project management. In the previous seminars, we’ve looked at defining your project, planning your project and delivering your project. So now it’s time to look at closing your project down in an orderly fashion. And we’re going to look at seven essential disciplines for closing your project down. And the first one is handover and sign off of the last of your deliverables. Because the first step in closing the project down is also the last step of the delivery stage is handing over the product of your project into beneficial use. It’s about getting sign off from the new owner, your client, your customer, the operational manager concerned that what you’ve delivered, meets their requirements and sometimes they will be accompanied by some form of operation with use memo or snagging list of things that need to get done. But essentially, when you hand over and get sign off, that moves you confidently into the closed stage. The second discipline is therefore to review the project. How did it go? How did your project delivery match up to the original plans? How did you perform against budget, against schedule and against specifications? Your project delivery review needs to make sure that you understand how the project performed so that you can be fully accountable for yourself, for your team and for the project infrastructure around you. One thing you can’t do at this stage, however, is to look at the outcomes of the project, what was achieved using the deliverables or products that you produced? That needs to happen sometime between six and 18 months after handover. So all All you can do at this stage is to schedule that outcomes or benefits review. The third discipline is to review lessons learned for the project. Now, if you watched our last video, you will have heard me say that lessons learned reviews need to be continuously happening during the delivery stage of the project. But at the closing stage, you do need to get the whole team together to review everything that you’ve learned. Try to make it as appreciative as possible in the sense of looking for what things people did that were good, that were beneficial. Because in a well performing organization and in a well performing project organization, you can prove better and faster by focusing on institutionalizing good practices, then by correcting poor practices. And of course, your lessons learned review is also an opportunity for you to offer praise and recognition for good performance among your team members. Now some organizations make a big deal out of this, they produce long and sophisticated project reports, which are then circulated widely in the organization and often not read and filed and wasted. Now, whether your organization produces these reports or not, and whether if it does, they’re properly read or not, the value of the lessons learned review is not for the reports. And it’s not for the wider organization. It’s for the people who’ve worked together on the project, because we can’t wiser when we take the time to reflect on what we’ve learned from our own experiences. The fourth discipline is to sit down with each of your team members and to give them good quality one to one feedback that will help them to develop become better, more effective professionals as they move on to their next project. Clearly on a large group, Where you may have 20 3050 100 or more team members, you can’t sit down with all of them. So I will sit down with my workstream leaders and give them good quality one to one feedback and expect them to do the same with their team leaders and so on. Here’s your opportunity to give people focused individual praise and recognition, and also to identify how they can take their career forward and improve their practice next time. This is a real discipline. Because as people start to drift away from the project, as your mind starts to wander off of the project, sometimes the last thing you want to do is to look backwards. But you know what, it isn’t looking backwards to develop people. It’s looking forward to the future of those individuals, and of the organization. Projects create admin. And so the Fifth Discipline and this one really is it Discipline is to deal with all of the outstanding projects. And a lot of projects never really end even though we know they’ve done their thing. Because there’s loads of admin hasn’t been cleared, and got out of the way, finally, invoicing, all of that sort of stuff. So make sure that you make a list of all of the project admin that needs to be done, and work your way through it and clear it. Ideally, you delegate a lot of that. But remember, the first rule of delegation is don’t just delegate the rubbish as a punishment for somebody else, or because you can’t be bothered. Make sure that you’re delegating for good reasons. delegate to help other individuals to develop their skills or independent working or to give them responsibility or delegate because it makes really good, effective use of your time and theirs. Clear your project admin, and then we move on to the sixth discipline. requires a lot less discipline, it’s celebrate, always, always, always celebrate the completion of a project. Because that way, the people who have been working on the project feel recognized and rewarded. They feel good about themselves. And it improves their confidence and morale going to their next project. In these times, sometimes it’s hard to get a budget out of your organization to pay for a project celebration. And maybe that’s appropriate. As a project manager, I’ve always thought that it’s my responsibility to make some for celebration happen and it doesn’t have to be grand and it doesn’t have to be expensive. For me, it’s about taking the team out for a pleasant meal, a sociable event, something that lets people recognize we’ve reached a key point in our careers, as well as the end of our projects. And we’ve done something to be proud of. We can share stories about it as colleagues And friends. When you finish the celebration, the last thing to do is to create a sign off a project closure memo. And a project closure memo is a simple document that says, You know what we’ve handed over our project. And we’ve got that signed off. And we’ve done all the reviews. And we’ve cleared our admin. And we’ve celebrated our success. And now I its project manager believes the project is complete, and you sign that off. And when you sign that off, you pass it to your client, your sponsor, your boss, you ask them if they believe the project is complete, and when they counter sign it. That’s the point at which you know, the project is over. Projects complete. It’s done. Go home. Enjoy a good night’s rest and relaxation because tomorrow It’s almost certainly going to be another project. I hope you’ve enjoyed this sequence of videos. My name is Dr. Mike Clayton. I’m the founder of online project management courses. Thank you very much