The Project Group, LLC

The Project Group, LLC Newsletter

  Advancing Project Management

February 2004  


in this issue


The Project Group, LLC

We specialize in assisting corporate and government clients in learning to improve their productivity while planning and executing projects.

Our three-phase approach yields faster, more efficient project initiation, planning and execution results.


Dear Robert,

Each month our newsletter delves into a specific step in the phases of Initiation, Planning and Execution of projects. Our methodology is applicable to any project in any industry. Our process approach to Project Management is designed to help your company's projects gain traction quickly, communicate clearly to all parties and keep them on track to reach a successful conclusion.

We facilitate workshops that jump-start your teams, making sure they know what they are going to do and validating they have the time and resources with which to do it.

This newsletter focuses on Process 12:

Closing Out A Project.







Not all project management processes were created equal.


We've been talking in these articles about the processes of project management as if they were all of equal importance. The implied message is that if you are doing a project you ought to be doing all of them. In fact how you use project management processes is largely a factor of how large the project is, how many team members you are dealing with, and whether or not you yourself are a resource on the project.

The amount of pressure in the company culture to compress more work into less time is another hidden factor that determines how project management processes will be used. If everyone is running around trying to meet impossible deadlines who has time for project management? Some processes require greater organizational maturity than others. Organizational maturity potentially increases the more stable your industry and the more business is within that industry. It's difficult to be organized when waging guerilla warfare amidst constantly shifting alliances.


I know we should do it but we don't have the time.


Few other project management processes are as much subject of guilt as a structured project close out phase. What we find most frequently is that it's not that Project Managers and team members don't know what to do. It's just that they don't have the time or the will to do it. Project close out is not seen as having value and people are moving on to the next project.


Meeting with the customer


The most compelling close out process is meeting with the customer and validating whether or not you have met their requirements and they are satisfied. The definition of quality is "conformance to requirements and fitness for use". The question you are trying to answer in a client close-out meeting is whether or not you met their requirements. You cannot do this if you didn't define their requirements clearly at the project initiation stage. That may be all well and good in a stable universe where requirements don't change through the life of the project. So then the close out meeting is a litmus test for how well you managed change throughout the project.

The deliverable of this meeting ought to be a description of the final deliverable as it turned out. In construction this can be as-built drawings. In information work this may be end-user manuals or documented computer code. You are not only handing the customer the deliverable but you are giving them the tools to maintain it over the course of its useful life.

The obvious reason to do this is that a happy customer equals repeat business. In an internal corporate environment you may not care about repeat business but you may have to work for these people again. Trust is a much more conducive environment to good work and lower stress. Its much easier to work in environment where they know that you are going to tell them what you plan to do (initiation), do what you are going to do (execution) and then tell them what you've done (close out).


Next Month In The Newsletter


Next month we will address more on the people aspects of Project close out.

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