Being a project manager gives you the title of a task supervisor from its start to end. To an outsider, the beginning might appear like the toughest of all phases. It is when one needs to do most of the planning and delegate the work. But ask any project manager and they will agree that it is the closing phase that is the most demanding of all.
According to PMI’s Pulse of Profession, the most popular survey on project management, the percentage that actually meets all goals and business intent on a global level is only 68%. The lack of efficiency in management often leads to tremendous loses financially across the world.
There is no need to stress why project management, particularly the closing part, is of the greatest significance. It does save not only money but also the resources and time. As more youngsters are aspiring to be project managers, this is the integral part that your college education on the concept might miss out on.
So take notes, fellow students, here is how to do it.
Closing a project is not as simple as shutting down your computer after completing a task. Let us consider an example.
As part of the studying process, you might have just completed an academic paper or even smarter, hired a good essay writer from essayservice.com to complete the task or two. Still, you did not merely accept the work and submit it right away. You read it and made sure the author met all the requirements, double-checked the work yourself, handed it in and only then considered the task completed.
Similarly, the closing phase of any project also requires some discipline. Having the deliverables completed does not mean that the whole thing is over. At this stage, the team leader has to take the lead once again, and check whether all the objectives have been met. This would include not only the initial aims but also any changes that were requested later.
It is easier to get through the closing phase with a checklist at hand. Rather than going into the details, here we are touching upon the essential items to tick off while finishing a project.
The Formal Sign-Off of Deliverables
For any task to be considered complete, the first aspect is to check whether all deliverables have been provided. It is not only the management team that has to agree with this. You will also need to get this signed off by the customer itself.
There are times when the customer might ask for more or request changes. This might result in some extension. That is why it is necessary to get the deliverables signed-off when they are achieved. Without that step, it is easy for the customer to keep on adding more requirements, and you might find it difficult ever to reach the closing.
Calculating the Costs
Once the sponsor has approved all the deliverables, it is time to look into the final costs. In most scenarios, the management team would be the one paying all the other contractors. Make sure that all invoices are covered, including commissions, bonuses, or any additional fees.
Closing the Contracts
Apart from the deliverables, your team is also bound via legal contracts with clients. You want to get the signatures wherever necessary to ensure that all the approvals are legally provided and secured.
You also need to close all the contracts not just between the organization and the client, but also between internal, any vendor partners or other agreements made with third parties.
The Transition Support
Upon closing, in some cases, you also need to look into offering support afterward. Devising a transition plan is of high importance for IT projects and other related fields. For instance, you have helped to set up a new business unit or software support. The staff might need help transitioning. This might be a part of the initial agreement itself.
If agreed upon, you might be required to set up a transition team who could help the client manage and support it for a duration that is agreed upon by both parties. If not, this could be another reason for the project to extend further.
It is easy and far too tempting to get done and dusted with a task as soon as possible. But if you are hoping to improve, it is equally significant to spend some time recapping. This crucial part of looking at the mistakes made is vital and often overlooked. Every project is unique and presents the team with insight into several aspects that have to be recorded.
This offers some scope for improvement for every person in the team. It will give the manager a better idea of how to delegate tasks, and how doing that has yielded results. To succeed with a final report, you do not only have to look back at the mistakes but also take concrete actions and decide how not to repeat them.
Once all the tasks are completed, lessons learned, then it is time to reassign the resources. The first one to consider is the staff. Depending on the type of organization, team members are most likely to be reassigned to other projects. This might also require a manager to take action to finalize their contracts for them to leave the organization.
Dealing with Resources
The resources do not pertain to staff or contractors alone. A few cases might also require the team to procure materials and other equipment.
During the closing, you have to deal with all the materials left. While some could be returned, others have to be stored or put away to reuse or recycle. The team also has to look into re-allocating any facilities or rented spaces.
The Final Report
Once all the above aspects have been taken care of, the organizational policy would require you to create the final report. This is where one should include all necessary and critical documents finalizing the completion as well as the key points learned during the process.
The final report should reflect the scope, cost, schedule, and any other management documentation for future references.
As long and challenging as any project might be, its successful completion indeed demands a celebration. So do not hesitate to tap the team on the shoulder when you get the job done.
When to End
Every project should come to an end. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some see the closing when it is supposed to, others endure many closing phases, and some might never even see the finish. At times, the project managers have to draw the line when the resources are not bringing any value.
Closing of the project is best done upon completion of every phase. Ultimately, the aim is to provide the best services to the stakeholders. There are many management systems available to help you track the completion, yet it is necessary to stay on top of every aspect individually as the project manager. So are you ready to take up the challenge?