How to Close Out Your Project or the Joys of Closing Beautifully – Part 2

A conclusion is simply the place where someone got tired of thinking.
– Anonymous

In my last post, I covered three ways to help improve project closeouts. The end of a project should not be “a place where someone got tired of thinking.”  In today’s post, I’ll cover three more tips to help you to close well.

The real question is how do you close out your project with your sanity and sense of humor intact?  Here are three more ways to make the end seem less onerous:

  1. Handoffs or Not dropping the ball and going home
    Sometimes the problem is not in the original execution, but how you hand off the ball. Check on how the team plans to hand off responsibilities. If there’s a support team that will field calls from customers, make sure they have the training, documentation and technical support they need to be successful. Should the nightmare scenario happen and your application crashes and burns, the one thing customers will remember is whether support was easy to call or whether they felt like they were abandoned. Putting a support plan in place is a critical element in closing well.
  2. Signing in blood or Getting Signoff
    At some companies, getting signoff can be a complicated matter of getting buy-in from multiple stakeholders with different agendas. In your case, it could be as simple as getting a couple of internal stakeholders to sit down and discuss their concerns and their perspective on releasing the product as it is. Work the issues they raise and get their acceptance before releasing your product. Concerns they raise before release that you don’t acknowledge and respond to can become “reasons I never should have accepted the product” afterward.
  3. Making a List and Checking it Twice: Creating a Punchlist
    It may seem like an obvious thing, but the act of simply creating a list of what needs to be resolved before you declare “done” can help you get signoff. Punchlists may slow down the final closure process, but they can help surface hidden issues or concerns that would have eventually hindered acceptance. And remember, it’s not just creating the list, it’s reviewing the list and addressing the concerns your stakeholders have before release.

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.

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