It is nearly impossible to work any project through to completion without making changes. Small projects are no exception. Generally, changes and revisions must be incorporated into the plan and workload or you are heading for trouble. One way to be ready for the next project is to properly close the current project by preparing a Final Report.
The Final Report should show several data columns that compare the baseline plan to actual results. You established the baseline plan at the outset and entered them into the project management software or spreadsheet, at the beginning. Now that the project is completed, it is time to look back to see how well you did in leading and managing this project.
The close-down, or closeout, phase begins during project implementation. In this phase, the project is terminated and life after the project is planned in earnest. During the close-down phase, some types of meetings may occur daily. For a small project, such as exhibiting at a trade show, the close-down phase may be complete when all prospects identified at the trade show have been qualified and the qualified leads contacted. Reassignment of team members to other projects can occur at any point in the project after the members’ tasks are complete.
Perform a post-project evaluation or audit. Examine the project plan and its details, including risks, time, and cost estimates. Document the lessons you learned and hold a transition meeting with the customer or client. For any type of project, ensure clarity with the sponsor, client, or customer by listing responsibilities and timing for project completion and follow up.
Hold a post-project meeting with the project team and management. Terminate the project and ensure that all project work is stopped. Determine the project’s costs and expenses. Recognize and reward team member achievements.
Closing the Project
The first thing that you will do is prepare to reassign or release project team members to new projects or tasks. However you must complete a final audit of the project details, including risks, time, and cost estimates and document the lessons learned. As appropriate, hold a transition meeting with the customer or client. Also, conduct a post-project meeting with the project team and management. Ensure that all project work is stopped so you can determine the project’s costs and expenses. Recognize and reward team member achievements.
Finally, prepare a report for management to include the final schedule, cost, and quality results, as well as comparisons to the baseline, variances, explanations, and implications for the future.
The Final Report
The report should include the final schedule, cost, and quality results, as well as comparisons to the baseline, variances, explanations, and implications for the future.
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