Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VIII Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
5. Describe the process of leadership when leading project teams. 5.1 Determine the role of the project team in the closing processes. 5.2 Discuss how to successfully adjourn or disband a project team.
Reading Assignment Chapter 18: Closeout
Unit Lesson If you remember at the beginning of the class, we agreed that one of the elements of a project is that every project must come to an end. The project has gone through the initiating phase where we created the project charter that authorized the beginning of the project. Then we moved to the planning phase of the project. In the planning phase, the project hired the teams and started to formulate the project plan. The project management plan that includes the scope of the project, the cost , the schedule, the quality plan, the risk plan, the procurement and human resources plans, the communication plan, and the stakeholder management plan. Once the project management plan is complete, the project then moves to the executing phase. This is the phase where the project team does all the implementations based on what was planned. Indeed, the primary purpose of the executing phase is create the project deliverables based on all the plans documented in the project plan. Like every other plan, the output of the executing phase (deliverables) may or may not manifest precisely as planned, and the control and monitoring process helps the project to correct the variances and bring the project back to achieving its objectives. Once the project has completed the development of all the deliverables, the project now moves from the executing phase of the project to the closing phase. In this case, the project is closed because the project has achieved its objectives and been accepted by the project sponsor. However, a project can be terminated if, during the course of the project, the sponsor deems that the project is not achieving its strategic objectives in terms of cost, schedule, or market considerations. Projects can also be terminated if the purpose of the project has been overcome by events. For example, some of the projects that were started by the U.S. Army Health Corps to help with the Ebola disease in West Africa were recently closed because of new medicines and because the disease has ceased to be an epidemic. Projects can also be terminated if the return on investment (ROI) is perceived as negative. In addition, sometimes changes in legislation or market demand may cause a project to be terminated. Fundamentally, there are many reasons (positive or negative) for a project to be terminated. Irrespective of the reason for termination, it is important for a project team to perform core closing phase activities. Some of these activities that a project team must perform during the closing phase include the following:
The project team must collect all outstanding payments due to the project and also make payments to all outstanding dues.
The project manager must recognize team member’s efforts and provide final constructive and positive feedbacks to team members.
The project team must perform post-project evaluations to determine if it met their success criteria.
UNIT VIII STUDY GUIDE
Project Closeout and Team
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The project team must create a lessons learned document.
The project must then finalize, organize, and archive all project related documents. Of all these closing phase activities that a project team must perform, one of the most critical is the creation of the “Lessons Learned” document. The “Lessons Learned” document is one of the major deliverables of the project closure. The goal of the “Lessons Learned” document is to document all that went well in the course of the project and all that went wrong in the project. Finally, the “Lessons Learned” document should propose suggestions for future projects based on the collective experience of the project team. Documenting an effective “Lessons Learned” document could be a challenge for the project because the documentation is done during the closing phase when most of the experienced team members may have left the project. Sometimes, the project team might perceive that the project “Lessons Learned” document is a document used for finger pointing or assigning blame, and therefore, team members may not be forthcoming in documenting what went wrong in the project. A well-documented and well written “Lessons Learned” document helps the organization to prepare more effectively for future similar projects through the documentation of suggestions based on what went right and what went wrong in the previous project. The overall objective of the “Lessons Learned” document is to help the project team answer some important questions about the project and provide a pathway to successful future projects. Also, as the project comes to a closure, the project team must ensure that all outstanding works are completed on time and efficiently and that project assets are transferred properly by doing the following:
Planning for the transition: There has to be clear understanding and a plan on how to transfer the project from the project manager to the operations manager. If this transition is not properly managed, it might negatively impact the project deliverables in terms of performance or operational ability.
Planning for user acceptance: It is not unusual for the project sponsor to reject the final deliverable at the closing phase if the sponsor and the end user have not been properly informed throughout the process. It is important that final deliverable expectations are managed so that the acceptance experience is positive for the project team and sponsor.
Planning to train the operational team: In some cases, the operational team that is now getting the project may not be familiar with how to use the application or facility or the final product. A consideration should be made as part of the closing process on the level of training that must be given to the operational team to make the acceptance successful.
Adjourning the Project Team As the project comes to end, the team members are anxiously looking for future projects or simply concerned about to do next. It is important that a project manager takes all the necessary steps within his or her power to ensure that the disbanding of the team is smooth and less stressful to the team members. If you think of the stages that your project team has gone through from the forming stage to storming, norming, and performing, a lot of training and bonding must have occurred by now that must be managed carefully because as a project manager, you may need the same team members for another project in the future. In a matrix organizational structure, as the project ends, the project manager starts to transition team members to their home administrative managers, and the way this transition is done will be a deciding factor in whether the same team members work again with the project manager in the future. Here are some consideration when adjourning your project team members:
As a project manager, be sure to give each one of your team a final evaluation.
Help your team members to obtain work in a new project or to transition back to their original work team.
Ensure that all outstanding benefits due to your team are approved and paid.
Help your project team with their career assessment reviews.
If possible or applicable, have a party where the team members are rewarded (Project Management Institute [PMI], 2013).
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Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (5th ed.). Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Suggested Reading In order to access the resource below, you must first log into the myCSU Student Portal and access the Business Source Complete database within the CSU Online Library. This article gives you an insight on how to close a project successfully: How to kill an IT project. (2004). Computerworld, 38(39), 46-47.