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Topics: PMO
How to classify closed projects?

In our old process, management did project planning based on a calendar year, so any initiative that crossed over a year would end up being two separate projects on the Op Plan each in it's calendar year--one to start the initiative and one to finish it. We were able to get that process changed so that a project runs it's natural course, but we want to revisit the old closure statuses.

Currently, we classify closed projects as 1) Complete as Planned, 2) Complete but Modified, 3) Incomplete and Dropped, and 4) Incomplete and Carried Over. The latter reflected a project that was planned to end in the previous year, but didn't. This was helpful since we were artificially closing projects that were't done.

Since in the new process, we won't close a project unless it is Complete or Dropped, is it as simple as those two closure statuses? Where we are getting into discussion is a project that had some work done. It could have been analysis leading to a "no-go" decision or a situation where work was done, but the business environment changed, like a 3rd party provider emerged. Are these complete or dropped or do we have a third status? As, the PMO we're trying to avoid having to make a judgement call on whether value was produced by the partial work. I'm just curious how others handle this and whether Completed and Dropped is sufficient.

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Renee -

Cancelled, On Hold or Completed are three end states for most of the clients I've worked with. They may add a qualified for these to provide further detail.

We follow a governance model based on Stage Gate process. Into each Stage Gate you have a simple method to decide about the project/program which is:
-it has strategical, tactic and finance sense? NO, then KILL
-expected quality can be achieved? NO, then REDIRECT
-do we have required resources available? NO, then
--if the project/program is "high priority" then CONTINUE
--if the project/program is "low priority" then put in ON HOLD.

Hi Renee,

as for the stati, I would recommend to enjoy the new simplicity and stay with complete/dropped. I assume you still have a mechanism to align annual budgeting with multiyear project durations - my experience is this can be an accounting exercise.

As for projects that are closed but did not deliver the original scope, this could be handled by a project change request (and reflected in the business case) and then the status would be complete (with new scope). Dropped would be a project that is killed from the outside, e.g. the PMO or the Steering Group.

If you have dropped projects, this could be a sign of portfolio maturity, many organizations do not kill projects at all.

You can certainly have other classifications if it fits your business. We have created our own terminology to be more descriptive in a variety of cases. Some projects are implemented on products and delivered, but there is post-delivery follow-up work required. Some projects affect families of products and are implemented sequentially over extended periods. There are a variety of other business scenarios in which a project is not completely completed.

Depending on how the specifics of your projects, your charging and accounting methods, and your change management processes, you have options. You can close a project and open a new project for work left over, break projects into parts of phases which can be closed, or create different classifications for what "complete" or "closed" means.

What i usually under those situations are to designate the project as either (1) completed (2) abandoned or (3) partially completed. Any project that has not been achieved its intention cannot be grouped under (1) and those which has no value or impossible to execute / complete due to any EEFs can be grouped under (2) And those that has produced some value but could not take further can come under (3). Life is simple so is management.

Also it's usual in a construction industry to span the projects in more than a year and carry over the same to the next financial year, but budgeting would be planned for the requirements for each year

Thanks everyone! Great input. I think we're all set.

In our case, there is an option to go into what we refer to as "effective project closure". Meaning the project is not completely finished in terms of providing all "deliverables", but for various internal/ "political" reasons it has been agreed between the parties to "close" the project with the understanding that the remaining deliverables will be forth coming within a mutually agreed timeline (usually less than 3 months). At this point, the project staff turn over the remaining effort to complete/ manage the outstanding deliverables to the "matrix' staff.

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