Project Closeout: The Right Stuff

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

We’ve all heard about the importance of closing a project properly. We need to make sure that all of the administrative elements are completed and archived, we need to validate that all of the deliverables have been met, we have to complete a project post-mortem and of course we have to capture all of the relevant data for use on future projects. I agree with all of that, but what exactly should be considered “relevant data”? Every organization will have a slightly different perspective on what’s important, but there should be some key elements that we always look to capture and that’s what I want to look at here.

Why are you capturing data?
Let’s start by understanding what the information is going to be used for--it’s a lot easier to understand what we need if we also understand why we need it, and of course there is no point in capturing data just for the sake of it. A project archive or database should be able to support at least the following:

  • Estimation--historic information on how long tasks took, how much items cost, how many resources were required, etc.
  • Risk--information of the types of risks that occurred on previous projects, how those risks were managed and how successful the management was.
  • Quality--quality issues that occurred on previous initiatives, the factors that caused them and how they …

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