After an adequate result has been achieved in the cyclical phase, the project enters the follow-up phase. In this phase, the project result is secured. What this means depends upon the type of project and on the agreements that have been made with the client or customer. For a research project, a final report would probably suffice; the development of a new product would require more follow-up.
Most of the problems in the follow-up phase arise because no clear agreements were made between the customer or client and the project team at the beginning of the project. The following are among the points that should be taken into consideration:
- How long should the follow-up last?
- What does the follow-up entail?
- How quickly must errors be repaired?
- Is there a guarantee on the project result?
- Who is responsible for bugs that are found after the project?
- Should documentation be delivered along with the project result?
- Will the users require training, schooling or both?
- Who is responsible for updates?
- Who will own the code, and who will be authorised to change it?
- Who will pay for the above-mentioned points?
It is important to realise that a project organisation is focused on temporary activities and is therefore not focused on offering (lengthy) support for the software that they have developed. Other means of support must be found for the longer term. Special (commercial) organisations exist for managing software, offering help-desk support, trainings, server administration, application administration and similar services. These organisations are likely to be (too) expensive for small nonprofit initiatives.
Another alternative for securing the continuity of the software is to make it open-source. For this solution, an organisation is established to allow a group of developers and users to maintain and support the software.
Activities in the follow-up phase
- Report on the control factors of the project
- Compile and submit final statement.
- Dissolve team.
- Transfer to the administrative organisation.
Result of the follow-up phase
- Project statement
- Transfer documents
- Project leader
- Team members
- System administrator
- Project leader
- Current or potential customer
Wouter Baars has a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Science. He has been a project manager for several years for The European commission, Waag Society, KPN (Dutch telecom provider) and many smaller organizations. He is specialized in creative projects such as serious game development, e-learning and software development. Currently he is teaching project management and coaching organizations that are working on their project management. More info on his work: www.projectmanagement-training.net.
Originally published by DANS – Data Archiving and Networked Services – The Hague