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The Final Project Report (#7 in the series How to Close Out a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

This series discloses important aspects of closing out a project by describing the following aspects:

The purpose of the final project report is to document the history of the project in such a way that others can benefit from knowing its strengths and weaknesses.

The following key aspects1 should be included in this report:

  • Overall success of the project: If a success model or success criteria were used, how successful was this project? This judgment can be very subjective unless a quantifiable model was established.
  • Organization of the project. How effective was the organization of the project, and was it altered as the project progressed? What recommended changes might be offered for other similar projects?

  • Techniques used to get results. What techniques and processes were used to get results? This information can be gleaned from a comprehensive lessons-learned review and may be summarized here.

  • Project strengths and weaknesses. Every project has its own strengths and weaknesses. Documenting them clearly is the sine qua non of the final report. This would be much like a father telling a son how to live life successfully based on the father’s vast experience.

  • Project team recommendations. Throughout the life of a project, a prudent project team will document ideas and suggestions for future project improvements. Summarizing them here will complete the “strengths and weaknesses” portion of the final report.

1Robert K. Wysocki, Effective Project Management, Fifth Edition (Indianapolis, Wiley Publishing, 2009), 291.

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.

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