Welcome to Project Management! In this video, I’ll talk about project closure. Every project comes to an end eventually. This diagram shows the tasks toward the end
of the project. The first task is to wrap-up the remaining
activities to ensure the project is approved by the customer, close accounts, pay bills,
reassign equipment and personnel, close facilities, and submit the final project report. The second task is to do the performance evaluation
for individual team members, the project manager, and the entire team as a whole. The third major task is to conduct audits
and retrospectives and summarize lessons learned. Audits and retrospectives are post-project
reviews to see how successful the project was. The outcomes of all these tasks will go to
the project archives or database to provide important information for future projects. There are 5 different types of project closure. Normal closure means the project ended successfully. For development projects, the end involves
handing off the final design to production and the creation of a new product or service. For IT projects like system upgrades or creation
of new inventory control systems, the end occurs when the output is incorporated into
ongoing operations. Premature closure means the project may be
completed early with some parts eliminated. For example, in a new product development
project, a marketing manager may insist on releasing products before testing. Perpetual projects are those projects that
never seem to end. Constant “add-ons” suggest a poorly conceived
project scope. A good strategy to deal with a perpetual project
is to bring the project to a closure and initiate a new project for significant add-ons. Organizations’ priorities often change and
strategy shifts directions. For example, during the 2008 to 2010 financial
crisis, organizations shifted their focus from money-making projects to cost savings
projects. Therefore, a project may start with a high
priority but see its rank erode or crash during its project life cycle as conditions change. When priorities change, projects in progress
may need to be altered or canceled. This is another form of project closure. The final type of project closure is a failed
project. Some projects fail because of lack of management
skills of the project manager or lack of technical skills of the team members. Other projects fail because of situations
beyond the control of the project team. For example, a competitor released cheaper
products. The project manager’s challenge is to keep
the project team focused on the remaining activities and delivery to the customer until
the project is complete. The manager needs to communicate a close-out
plan to allow the project team to accept the psychological fact the project will end and
prepare to move on. The close-out plan should answer questions
like What tasks are required to close the project? Who will be responsible for these tasks? When will closure begin and end? And How will the project be delivered? It’s like the party is over, now who wants
to help clean up? And much of work at this stage could be mundane
and tedious. Getting delivery acceptance by the customer
is a major and critical closure activity. Customer satisfaction is important. Watch this video to see why. Another important activity is to shut down
resources and release them to new use. And then reassign project team members. Releasing the project team members typically
occurs gradually during the closure phase. The manager also needs to make sure to close
all accounts and see all bills are paid. Finally, a project report is created to conclude
the project. For small projects, the project outcome delivery
may only take a few hours or a few days. For large projects, the BOOT delivery approach
can be used. BOOT stands for build, own, operate, and transfer. Basically, the contractor builds, owns, and
operates the project deliverables for a set period of time before finally transferring
the deliverables to the customer. For example, a company may build a hydroelectric
power plant and operate it for 6 months before turning over operations to their customer. During this time, all the problems are fixed
and conditions for final delivery are satisfied. An important task during project closure is
the performance evaluation. Performance evaluation assesses how well the
project team, team members, and the project manager performed during the project. Performance evaluation is also called performance
appraisal. It fulfills two functions. One is to identify individual strengths and
weaknesses and developing action plans for that individual or team to improve. The other is to assess how well the person
has performed in order to determine merit adjustments like pay raise or promotion. When evaluating team members’ performance,
the project manager and the functional manager may have different responsibilities depending
on the organizational structure used for managing the projects. When a project is carried out in a functional
organization or using a weak matrix structure, the team member’s functional manager will
have the main responsibility of assessing the team member’s performance on a regular
basis. The functional manager may solicit the project
manager’s opinion of the individual’s performance on a specific project. When the balanced matrix structure is used,
the project manager and the functional manager jointly evaluate an individual’s performance. When a strong matrix and dedicated-team structure
is used, then the project manager is responsible for evaluating individual team members’ performance. Both managers and subordinates may dread a
formal performance review. The process can be stressful and not always
pleasant. Some good practices are listed here for conducting
effective individual performance reviews. The process may begin by asking the individual
to evaluate their own performance. When evaluating subordinates, the manager
should avoid drawing comparisons with other team members; Comparisons tend to undermine
cohesion and divert attention away from what the individual needs to do to improve performance. Rather, assess the individual in terms of
established standards and expectations. When negative feedback or criticism are offered,
focus on specific examples of behavior rather than on the individual personally. Describe in specific terms how the behavior
affected the project. Also, the performance review process should
be consistent and fair in treatment of all team members. Now, watch this funny video that shows how
the talk show host Conan O’Brien gives staff performance reviews. Another individual performance review system
is called the multi-rater appraisal. It’s also called the 360-degree review or
360-degree feedback. The review process involves soliciting feedback
concerning team members’ performance from all the people that their work affects. These people include the individual himself
or herself, the project manager, the functional manager, peers, subordinates, customers, etc. This method will provide a more comprehensive
understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Watch this video to see more about the 360-degree
review. Project audits are more inclusive than the
project status reports and the project final reports. The project reports focus on cost, schedule,
and performance. The audits examine project success and review
why the project was selected. They include a re-assessment of the project’s
role in the organization’s strategy and priorities. They also include a check on the internal
factors such as the organizational culture and the external factors that contributed
to project success. The outcome of a project audit is the audit
report. Project audits can be classified into two
types depending on when they are performed. In-process audits are performed regularly
as the project is carried out. They concentrate on examining project progress
and performance. Some early in-process project audits are extremely
helpful to allow corrective changes. A post-project audit is performed after the
project is completed. It emphasizes on improving the management
of future projects. Generally, post-project audits include more
detail and depth than in-process project audits. Here are some guidelines for conducting a
project audit. The philosophy is that the project audit is
not a witch hunt. Comments about individuals or groups participating
in the project should be minimized. Keep the focus on issues, not people. Also, audit activities should be sensitive
to human emotions and reactions. The audit should minimize inherent threats
to people being evaluated. Both the auditor and the project team should
understand that the objective of project audits is not to prosecute but to learn from mistakes
for the long-term growth of the organization. It’s very important that senior management
publicly announce support for the project audit to minimize the potential resistance. The project audit process includes three general
steps. The first one is initiating and staffing. The size of the audit team depends primarily
on organization and project size. Also, the people on the audit team must provide
an independent, outside view of the project. They should have no direct involvement or
direct interest in the project, so they would be perceived as impartial and fair. Auditors should be the people who have respect
from senior management and other project stakeholders. It’s important that they have the independence
and authority to report review results without fear of recriminations from special interests. They also must have a broad-based experience
in the organization or industry so that they have the knowledge for the audited work. The second step is data collection and analysis. The auditors must gather information and data
to answer questions from both the organizational view and the project team’s view. The organizational view includes organization
culture alignment, senior management support, etc. The project team view includes budget, schedule,
access to adequate resources, positive or negative team dynamics, etc. The last step is to generate the audit report. The report attempts to capture lessons learned
from a current or finished project to improve future projects. A project audit report may include the following
components. A cover page may tabulate the project information
like the project type, whether it’s a compliance project, strategic project, or an operational
project, the project size in terms of cost and duration, the number of staff, and so
on. Then comes the oneor two-page executive summary
that simply highlights the key findings and facts related to the project implementation. After that it comes the major part of the
audit report: the review and analysis. This part lists the project mission and objectives,
technical procedures adopted, organizational resources used, and outcomes achieved. Lessons learned summarize all the useful tips
that are deemed valuable for future projects. They include reminders of mistakes or pitfalls
that can be avoided. They also contain retrospectives of actions
that were taken to ensure success. Watch two videos to see some examples of lessons
learned. The first video is titled five years after
Katrina: lessons learned. The second video is titled a life lesson from
a volunteer firefighter, Mark Bezos, who is Jeff Bezos’ brother. Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon. Lessons learned in the audit report are followed
by recommendations, which include technical improvements, corrective actions, etc. Finally, all other relevant but less important
information and data can be put into the Appendix of the project audit report. After the audit report is accepted, each lesson
learned is assigned an owner. This owner is typically a team member who
is most familiar with the lesson learned. This individual will serve as the contact
point for anyone who needs information related to the lesson. The owner will assist the documentation and
distribution of the lesson so it will be usable by others. Now, let’s talk about the project management
maturity model. A project management maturity model focuses
on guiding and assessing organizations in implementing concrete best practices of managing
projects. An organization can go through these 5 different
maturity levels depending on how much best practices of project management they have
implemented. These maturity levels from low to high are:
Ad hoc project management, formal application of project management, institutionalization
of project management, management of project management systems, and optimization of project
management systems. We can use running as a metaphor of these
five different levels. Level 1 through level 5 are represented by
standing, stretching, walking, jogging, and running, respectively. The progress from one level to the next takes
time, it could be months, or even years. Now let’s talk about these maturity levels
in detail. In Level 1, there is no consistent or formal
project management process in place in the organization. How a project is managed depends on the individuals
involved. If the project manager has project management
experience, then they may bring their experience to the new projects. There is no formal project selection system
in the organization. Projects are done because people decide to
do them or because of a high-ranking manager’s order. Also, there is no project management training
for the employees or managers working on the projects. In Level 2, the project managers apply established
project management procedures and techniques to their projects. Standard approaches such as scope statements,
work breakdown structure, and project networks are used. At this level, the organization is moving
in direction of the matrix organization structure. But there is no formal project priority system
and only limited project management training in the organization. In level 3, projects are managed using well
established process and best practices in the project management field. Formal criteria have been developed for selecting
projects. Risk is taken into consideration and risk
assessment is derived from the work breakdown structure. There are expanded project management training. Time-phased budgets are used to measure and
monitor project performance based on the earned value analysis. A change management system is in place and
all changes are well documented and justified. Audits are performed but they occur only only
if a project fails. In level 4, the organization is using a standard
information system to manage multiple projects that are aligned with the organizational strategic
goals. A higher level of management called the portfolio
management is in practice. The project priority system is established,
as well as a project management office. Audits are performed on all projects. Lessons learned are recorded and used to improve
future projects. At the highest level, level 5, the organization
is focusing on continuous improvement through incremental advancements of existing practices
and through innovations that based on new technologies. They are not satisfied with the standard project
management information system anymore, so they fine-tune and customize them to better
meet their own needs. The organization is driven by a culture that
values improvement. The project managers are masters of project
management and there is great flexibility in adapting the project management process
for specific projects. Okay, in this video, we talked about different
types of project closure. We learned about how to conduct performance
reviews of the project team, the manager, and the team members. I explained the importance of project audits. I also explained the project management maturity
model. This is Yong Wang. See you next time.

17 Project Closure
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