After a lengthy project, most involved members are often in a rush to accomplish one thing: finish off and move on to the next project. The mixture of enthusiasm and apprehension often results in hasty closeouts. Unfortunately both project members and managers alike tend to forget that one of the most critical parts of a project is the closeout. The closeout reaffirms that the undertakings of the project have been achieved and when properly done may even provide valuable insights for future projects. However, project closeout procedures vary depending on the nature of the industry and the project. In the case of management consulting, it is crucial for consultants to ensure the execution of these 5 things when closing out a project.
Handing over of all deliverables and outcomes
The obvious: To verify that all the contractual obligations and requirements have been met and accepted by the client. This would include all administrivia related to project closeouts including the distribution and collection of records, payments and invoices. In congruence with the nature of the industry, all contractors that have been hired for the project are paid and clients are invoiced after ensuring that the requirements of all shareholders have been met and that the terms and conditions of the contract have all been fulfilled.
The proper transmission of knowledge
The proper transmission of knowledge is integral to management consulting. While this might not play a vital role in other industries in the field of management consulting this often differentiates good consultants from mediocre ones. Management consulting frequently deals with the implementation of integral and critical initiatives within businesses and organisations. Unfortunately, these initiatives are often handled by employees that are not involved with the implementation or operation of these initiatives or operations. It is therefore crucial for consultants to ensure that the knowledge is properly transmitted and understood by the personnel in charge.
Assessment & Evaluation
Similar to projects that are carried out in other industries, it is important for consultants to assess the project after it is completed. It is crucial to check the actual costs versus the budgeted cost, the project schedule and baseline. These indicators would also enable consultants to assess efficiency and to later draw on any successes or failures that they have stumbled upon during the course of the project. It is vital to assess quality and to check whether standards have been adhered to or not. Shortcomings should be addressed and mitigated in future projects.
Archiving Final Project Records
One of the most important steps that needs to be addressed is archiving. Archived project document solutions to various challenges and offer insights into strategies employed and can therefore enable consultants to effectively approach current or future projects. Furthermore, addenda to projects may be requested by clients in the future. This reaffirms the need to properly archive projects. Both hard and electronic records need to be properly retained and maintained. When archiving it is crucial to consider effective retrieval. This usually calls for a proper description of stored records and the location if necessary.
Projects often present unique challenges for project teams and stakeholders including clients, contractors, managers and support staff. Documenting these lessons and reflecting on them could help improve performance. When initiatives and changes are implemented in organisations most problems are resolved immediately, however it is not uncommon for major issues to show up in the long run. It is therefore important for consultants to solicit feedback from clients at various time intervals to assess both immediate and long term results.
Project closeouts often prove to be crucial learning points for stakeholders. It is therefore paramount for project teams to follow proper guidelines and the correct procedures when carrying out a project closeout.
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