To realise the full benefits of a project, the transition to the end users’ business as usual is vital. A welcome reminder, no doubt. Yet, to go from the obvious to the tactical, we have outlined six ways you can maximize such transitions and improve the long-term value of your projects and programmes.
- Start at the end. How many times have projects come to conclusion, only to have new requests emerge? Prioritise alignment with all relevant stakeholders on what the true end of the project looks like upfront. Remember, calling a project complete is essential. This is the time to be explicit and to get formal recognition from everyone involved across all aspects of completion. If there is a list of open items, make sure there is full acceptance for that as well.
- Document early and often. Writing in PM Network magazine, author Novid Parsi offers this sage advice: “Project managers must be willing to go above and beyond to stay on top of what’s needed for project closing during all phases. By the time the project wraps up, many team members have already moved on—which can leave project managers scrambling to gather feedback and tie up documentation. Taking a proactive approach to gathering retrospective documentation can mitigate that risk and ensure project and programme managers generate a more relevant and comprehensive final report.”
- Remember outside vendors. Poor project transitions can lead to big misunderstandings. This includes vendors, from incomplete payments on contracts to, worse, legal disputes. Closing a project with an external third-party should share the same time, attention, visibility and clarity as your internal stakeholders.
- Focus on team dynamics. Another part of project closure that is easily overlooked is the gathering of so-called “soft facts.” These are all the ways in which the team worked together that might not fit neatly on a sheet of numbers. Good questions to surface are along the lines of: How well did we work with remote teams? How was our cross-cultural communication? What did we learn about each other that made the project stronger? Weaker?
- Practice gratitude. A strong project or programme professional can work effectively with diverse sets of people, from CEO to front-line employee, always treating everyone with the same respect. They are also gracious team players. Don’t forget to publicly thank everyone involved in the project for their contributions, however small.
- Pay it forward. During any project, opportunities to improve efficiencies arise that may lie outside of current scope. Don’t let those ideas fall by the wayside. It’s everyone’s job in a high-ownership culture to help the wider business run more efficiently or to help another team’s project become more successful.
Transitions anywhere—work, life, school—can be tough. Learning from others can help. What are some transitions to BAU that have worked for you?
If your organisation requires assistance with Projects, Programmes or your PMO, contact us today on +65 6818 5771.