How to Close Out Your Project or the Joys of Closing Beautifully…Part 1

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

-Orson Welles

What is your favorite part of the project lifecycle?

Some project managers love openings and pulling it all together.  Others love slogging through the murky middle.

My favorite part is the end, when everything comes together and you deliver something.  Whatever. Something complete.  Then I get the payoff, “cha-ching!”, that makes project management something I love to do.

If you love project management, but closing out does nothing for you, then the real question is how do you close out with your sanity and sense of humor intact?  In the next two posts, I’ll cover six ways to make the end seem less onerous:

  1. Stephen Covey style: Begin with the End in Mind
    If you’ve missed doing this at the beginning of your project, it’s not too late. Do it now. Review the timeline and look at what might be needed at the end. Do the customers need training?  Do your support personnel need training on the features or the new product you’re delivering?

    Think through the sequence of events in the Life of Joe User who finds out on Monday that your application was loaded onto their laptop. Without instructions. Without training. And they need to use your application to get their work done. You’ll begin to understand why the customer can get a little tetchy.

  2. What the **** do our customers want?  Reviewing your Stakeholder Register
    Another way to uncover what the users might need after you release your product is to review your Stakeholder Register and consider what problems it is supposed to solve for them. A quick review of the register can be helpful in helping you find a gap in your current rollout plan.
  3. Are you passing flaming torches?  What risks remain open?
    You’ve completed the work.
    Software Quality seems good.
    The Paperwork has all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed, but are you done?

    If there are outstanding risks that could fall out of the sky on an unsuspecting customer, then guess what?  You’re not done. Review the risks with your stakeholders and make sure that if a mitigation plan is not in place, then you have a stakeholder willing to own the risk and drive it to closure.

I’ll stop at three today and save the final three for next Wednesday.
While these tips won’t make you like closing any more than you do now, they may help you avoid a few pitfalls.

Do you have any suggestions on how to improve project closure?  Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s