Have you ever gotten to the end of your project only to look around and find that everyone has gone? All the energy, excitement, and enthusiasm have dissipated and your team members have moved on to bigger and better things. Here are seven ways to avoid closing pitfalls and be left holding the project bag:
#1: Make sure you have all of your inputs. As soon as you get to the end of the executing and controlling phases, members start checking out and going to the next project. To avoid that, start gathering those last documents coming into the closing phase, so that you have what you need to close the project out.
#2. Get user acceptance and all approvals. Keep your energy focused on engaging people in user acceptance testing and collaborating with you in gathering approvals before everyone leaves.
#3: Get final status reports. Status reports are not extraneous administrivia to do. You have to submit final reports to the change control board and stakeholders, so make sure before people leave that they’ve reported things accurately.
#4: Get and archive your documentation. It’s important that project documentation is complete, and that everyone who has participated on the project submits their part. Many times projects are put on hold or extended, and as a result are completed in phases. It’s critical to have documentation that is complete and archived.
#5: Celebrate. When people know there is going to be a celebration at the end of a project, they have a reason to stay to the end. In the entertainment industry everyone hangs around until the wrap party. Communicate your plans to celebrate or thank the team at the end of the project, so that they stick around a little bit longer.
#6: Be sure to connect with your team members and stakeholders both online and offline. It’s important for people to remain connected during and after a project. You never know who you may need to ask for information post-project, or for upcoming projects. Keep in touch.
# 7: WIFM – What’s In It For Me? If you communicate what’s in it for your team, they might be interested to listen and stay longer on the project. Let them know the bonus, such as information on new projects ahead and how they can participate.
Keep these 7 suggestions in mind when it comes to closing out a project. Make sure to include these in the project plan and allocate time for them and make sure your project team members know that these seven steps are part of the project that must be complete.
If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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