by Shaun H. Ajani
It seethes in anticlimax.
It is like the Pro Bowl. The players are there; the
coaches are there; in-fact all the stakeholders, including
the fans are there. But something is not the same. It
feels like tasting something stale. I am, of course,
talking about the Project Closure Phase.
In projects that do not respect an exacting stance for
proper methodology, the Project Closure Phase is neglected.
This is even the case in huge corporations with proper
Project Management methodologies. It is indeed the Phantom
Phase that lingers on for a while, and when nobody steps
up and takes responsibility for its execution, it effervesces
into nothingness, abandoning some important aspects
of the project, such as Weighted Critical Measurements
(WCM), Issues, Reviews, and Client Permissions.
WCM indicates to us the success of the project by comparing
the initial business requirements of the project to
the final deliverables at the close of the project.
Appropriate weights are assigned to the deliverables
according to their significance to the critical functionality
of the final product. For example, a deliverable that
is produced for its cosmetic appearance, such as an
aesthetic color scheme of a corporate website, might
be appointed a weight of 1, from a scale of 1 being
the least essential to the success of the project, and
10 being the most significant.
The end of the project is also a good time to consolidate
all project issues in one common log. As the project
is now over, these issues then become a placeholder
for the project sponsor to allocate resources to undertake
resolution. It is also important to keep in mind that
this is a good point to make to a client for the need
of additional projects, such as "Phase II"
of the recently completed project, thus ensuring a mutual
benefit to the client and the consulting company.
Most companies conduct end of the year reviews for their
employees, but a staff resource review, specifically
designed for that project can generate invaluable information,
not only about the employee, but also how the project
gets staffed in the future. The company can specifically
match the resource with the type of project for maximum
efficiently and effectiveness.
I also make it a habit to prepare an extensive client
project profile right before leaving the client site.
While my performance is still fresh in the client's
mind, I like to secure permission of the client to use
them as a reference, based on that project profile.
A client testimony is many times more valuable then
a paid advertisement.
I am fortunate to work for a company that has an extensive
base of templates and a precise, yet flexible, methodology
to tackle all phases of the project. However, if you
are not so blessed, do not let that stop you from creating
your own methodology phase.
A few years ago, I was deeded to oversee four multi-million
dollar projects for Dollar Stores in West Texas. As
an independent contractor, I was without the benefit
of a corporate backed methodology. However, by proper
analysis of the client needs, we had an ad hoc methodology,
with all phases of the Project Management, including
Project Closure, within three months.
When you reach the end of a project, start using your
resources, such as Technical Writers and Project Coordinators
to create templates for Project Closure. This will expedite
the Project Closure Phase, ensure that important aspects
of the project are efficiently tied up, and signal the
project sponsor to start assessing the resources for
other undertakings and endeavors.
Special thanks to Shaun H. Ajani for allowing Borderwave
Software to present his views. The ideas presented here
are Shaun's own theories, and are only used with proper
permission. Please visit http://www.ajani.com
to learn more about AJANI RESEARCH INC.