In my limited time as an assistant project manager, I have quickly learned the importance of taking the proper steps to make sure a project is closed properly. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that my office is always good at – and I think this is pretty common problem. When it gets to the end of the project process everyone is either excited or exhausted and so ready to be done with the project that little attention is paid after the project is handed off. Ideally, the hand off of the final product shouldn’t be the last step for a project. Newsignature.com outlines the six most important reasons for following a proper project closure process (listed below).
- Confirmation of Objectives Being Met
- Sense of Closure
- Improving Future Engagements
- Capturing Knowledge
- Tying up Loose Ends
- Rewarding the Team
These are all very important reasons to pay attention to this final step in the project cycle. In particular, I think points 1, 3 & 4 from the list above are the most important and are the reasons that I place such value on this step in my daily work. Once a project is finished and handed off to the client, our team generally has a sense of closure and it’s pretty clear if the objectives are met – but that is something to make sure of. We are notoriously bad at maintaining our archives, so items 3 & 4 from the New Signature list are most important to me. We need to make sure that everything the team has worked on is in one central location, organized and clearly laid out so that anyone not familiar with the project could come back to the folders and make a change if necessary. This also helps in having organized files for future reference on similar projects and allows the team to take an extra minute and reflect on the project, making sure that any lessons learned are communicated so that similar mistakes aren’t made in the future.
Wether you’re a project manager or a team member, it will be helpful to remember these six key parts of the project closure process to ensure that all projects you work on end in the best, most productive way possible.