This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:
- Scope Verification
- Contract Closeout
- Administrative Closeout
- Lessons Learned
- Historical Records
- Celebrating Success
- Final Report
Before the project can be formally closed out, an audit must be conducted to verify that all required scope (work) has been satisfactorily completed. When a new product is completed, and it is a commercial product to be mass produced, the scope verification effort may take place with a production manager. When the new product is sold to an individual customer, the scope verification may take place with the customer present. In any case, this event will include the following steps:
- Verify tested products meet all specifications. Sometimes called a functional audit, a review of all test data against the approved specification must be conducted. Any discrepancies are to be identified and resolved.
Validate all support documents. Any product manuals (whether they be “hard” copies or “soft” copies), and any product drawings must be validated by comparing them to the finished product. Nothing can frustrate a customer more than operating a user’s manual that doesn’t match the product. To prevent such anomalies the manuals and drawings must be compared to the finished product.
Verify all deliverables are available (product count). When the project product consists of physical items it will be necessary to conduct an audit to verify that all are present. This is sometimes called a “physical configuration audit.”
Assess customer satisfaction. A project would not be completed unless its original strategy to satisfy a customer’s needs completely has been verified. This might be accomplished by using a questionnaire based on the customer’s needs and expectations, or simply conducting a face-to-face meeting. When a questionnaire is used, the project manager would be wise to establish it at the beginning of the project rather than at the completion. This will prevent new “enlightenments” when it is too late.
MICHAEL D. TAYLOR, M.S. in systems management, B.S. in electrical engineering, has more than 30 years of project, outsourcing, and engineering experience. He is principal of Systems Management Services, and has conducted project management training at the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension in their PPM Certificate program for over 13 years, and at companies such as Sun Microsystems, GTE, Siemens, TRW, Loral, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Inprise. He also taught courses in the UCSC Extension Leadership and Management Program (LAMP), and was a guest speaker at the 2001 Santa Cruz Technology Symposium. His website is www.projectmgt.com.