Congratulations! After many hours of work and effort, you and your team have finally arrived at the end of your project. If it is time for celebrations, do not neglect to close your project in due form. Your project may be over, but your mission is not over yet.
Evaluations, feedback, lessons learned, administrative closures, etc. Closing a project is an essential but often neglected phase because the team is too eager to finish and start a new mission. Yet this step is just as important, if not more, in terms of continuous improvement of your practices. It is therefore essential to capitalize on this experience.
By definition, a project has a beginning and an end. Each step of the project must be properly planned and managed in order to achieve the goals and succeed. The same is true for the end of the project which must be included in the initial schedule.
What to do After Finishing your Project
A project closure must be carried out by following these essential steps:
- Identify good practices
- Establish the project closure report
- Archive data
- Recognize the work done by the project team
- Preparing for the future
Identify best practices
What better time than the end of a project to take the time to come back on achievements, determine best practices and remember the mistakes to avoid.
Whatever the outcome of the project (failure or success), you and your team must learn from this experience to improve your project management approach and avoid pitfalls for future projects.
The end-of-project review is an important step that should not be overlooked. Organize a meeting with your team and come back to all aspects of the project, the results obtained, what worked as what failed. Let your colleagues talk about their experience, write down good ideas to replicate and avoid mistakes by analyzing why it did not work.
The objectives of this stage are multiple:
- Officially and emotionally close the project;
- Identify good practices to be put in place in future projects;
- Learn from one’s mistakes;
- Recognize the contributions of each individual to the success of the project.
In project management, the best way to progress is to learn from mistakes rather than deny them.
Draw up the project closure report
Once the project is completed, the project leader must prepare a project closure report. This document formalizes the closure of the project, provides confirmation that the project has met the criteria for success and requests the signature of agreement of the client to close the project.
This is the last document written on the project. It contains the characteristics of the project, analyzes the final result and the process by which this result was obtained.
As a project summary document, the project closure report has several objectives:
- Keep track of project characteristics at launch;
- Analyze the final gaps between the results obtained and those expected at the start of the project;
- Assess customer satisfaction;
- Identify good practices to be sustained and record errors that should not be duplicated;
- Facilitating the transfer of knowledge between projects;
- Share the final analysis of the project with the entire project team;
- Ensure that closing activities are carried out.
Do not forget to note the problems encountered and their resolution so that this is used for future projects.
Archive project data
It is essential to keep all documents used during the execution of a project, from planning to final evaluation, in order to be able to refer to them later.
Keeping data from past projects serves as a reference, but also as a training tool for project managers. These archives can also be used to evaluate future projects. Correspondence, minutes of meetings, progress reports, contracts and technical documents must be kept and can be consulted at a later date.
Recognize the work of the team
Like you, the team worked hard to accomplish the project. The end of a project is therefore an opportunity to thank the members of the project team for their involvement, to recognize the work and efforts provided and to welcome the successes.
In order for the entire team to make the most of the experience gained, it is important to take stock of each team member’s work, congratulate those who have achieved their goals and those who have exceeded expectations.
To do this, organize a formal meeting with the whole team involved and finish with a cocktail that marks the end of the project. You can also offer a small thank-you gift to your colleagues, such as a pen or cup that recalls the project.
Finally, communicate on the success of the project within your organization, and even the industry. In addition to enriching the knowledge in the field concerned, you offer your team a great recognition of the work carried out.
Reminder: do not wait until the end of the project to show gratitude to your team. Recognizing the small successes of each and valuing the work of your team throughout the project is a great way to motivate and engage your collaborators.
Prepare for the Future
Once all the previous steps have been completed, it is time to make room for future projects. Physically close the project by cleaning up the workspaces, arranging reports and folders and paying members of the team for example. There must be nothing left of the old project that could hamper the implementation of a new project.
Your employees must now devote themselves to other tasks, or find another position within the organization. As a project manager, you must ensure that human resources are mobilized and do it. The same applies to you: will you continue to be a project manager and take on a new project, or would you like to be assigned to a new position?
A project is not really finished until you have taken stock of it with the whole team. This post-project evaluation offers many benefits, including:
- Review project objectives;
- Identify successes and highlight the contribution of each;
- To recognize failures and how not to renew them;
- To identify the expertise and experience gained;
- Organizing the transfer of knowledge;
“The only real mistakes are the ones we commit repeatedly. The others are learning opportunities. “Dalai Lama. Learn from your mistakes and become more efficient in project management.