Project Management

Does closeout vary between projects following an adaptive rather than a predictive life cycle?

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Categories: Agile, Project Management

Completion of a project usually focuses on financial and administrative activities such as transitioning verified and accepted deliverables to customers, getting final sign off on the project, closing open contracts, recognizing team accomplishments, survey stakeholder satisfaction, archiving key project outputs and so on.

But with an adaptive life cycle, the approach taken when performing certain activities might vary. Here are two examples of this:

  • It is common to hold a lessons (to be) learned session at the very end of a project. With most traditional approaches, there would usually be few times when the team and key stakeholders might have got together over the life of the project to do this, so this can be a fairly onerous process of locating the right participants (many of whom might have moved on to other projects much earlier), identifying learnings, prioritizing them and distilling them into (hopefully!) useful knowledge for future projects. On projects which have followed an agile life cycle, there should have been multiple, regular feedback loops for both the product and team process over the life of the project and these can be used as a starting point for curation.
  • Project closeout often involves identifying any remaining open work items such as defects or enhancements which were not completed by the team during the life of the project and transitioning ownership of those to the right stakeholders. With traditional projects, there may not be a consistent approach to such transitions, centralized tracking of the exceptions might not be in place (which means some might be missed) and it may be challenging to identify who is best suited to owning specific items. With projects using an adaptive life cycle, whatever is left in the product backlog would be transitioned and, in the absence of any other owners, the product owner is usually the right role to own them.
  • With traditional projects, archiving of project documents is frequently done for contractual or compliance purposes. While this is also true on projects following an agile life cycle, if key project delivery information such as requirements or design specifications were captured within online information repositories, it is a good idea to take a snapshot of this content for archival purposes as we would expect to continue to evolve this content for future projects in the same web pages.

So is there any difference to how projects which were managed using an adaptive or agile life cycle would end compared to those following a traditional or predictive one? At a high level, no, but our approach to specific procedures should always be tailored to fit the context of the life cycle used to deliver it.

Posted on: August 25, 2019 11:08 AM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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You answered your own question Kiron and I agree: No at a high level but the particulars or the closing out might be tailored to suit the needs of every project. This means that if you have two adaptive projects, still the particulars of closing out each project might different.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing

Project work is interesting...there is no "one size fits all." My experience with closing has been that while there are some tasks or procedures that are somewhat consistent, there are always slight differences that have to be considered.

Great article, Kiron. Thanks for sharing.

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