Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Project Closeout Activities

You've probably heard the saying, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." This applies nicely to project management. As a part of project closeout, you should document the successes, failures, and lessons learned for each project, so you can benefit from them on future projects.

For many organizations, project closeout involves gathering all of the cost control documentation and evaluating the cost control procedures, as detailed below.
  • Documentation. As a part of project closeout, you need to collect all data related to project cost control. This includes budget reports, performance analyses, trend analyses, Gantt charts, change requests, budget update reports, and progress updates.
  • Procedures. Project closeout procedures often include completing all the necessary company forms and evaluating any new project processes.
The lessons learned during cost control efforts should become a part of a project's historical database. The information you keep about closed-out projects should be used to save you time and money on future endeavors.

Things you should include as you document the lessons learned are details about the main causes of cost control variances, the reasons behind the corrective action chosen, and actions you'll do differently in future projects.

In addition, when you learn important lessons that will improve the performance of future projects, you should share the information with other project leaders within the company. Possible reporting techniques include:
  • discussing lessons learned during team debriefings
  • reassigning a team member to another division in order to train personnel there
  • writing a case study based on the lesson and incorporating it into corporate training material
  • distributing lessons learned to employees via e-mail or as written memos.
The purpose of cost control is to ensure the profitability of your project. By documenting the lessons learned and completing project closeout activities, you help ensure that you achieve project goals.

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