It has been 18 long months since this project started, and now it is done with just a few small details waiting to close out. There is only one remaining question, now what?
There is one thing that I’d like to focus on for this post, the closing meeting.
After so many days and weeks and months on this project, it seemed anti-climatic to just end the project by simply stopping work. Besides, I would not be doing my part to really wrap it up the right way. So, I invited all 25 team members and other stakeholders to a long, but not grueling, meeting to finish things up. The agenda looked like this:
- Project Overview (we also had a pot-luck to break it up a little during this time)
- Accomplishments (including value adds)
- Lessons Learned
- Final Thanks
Now this meeting lasted all morning, but after 18 months, 3 more hours was not going to hurt anyone and produced a great pay-off. One important note is that I ended the meeting on-time. What was so great about it? Well, for one, everyone got to see what the team accomplished in a relatively short amount of time for the work that we did. Also, they got to see what their “extra” efforts did to produce values added that were unexpected. Lastly, and almost most importantly, was the lessons learned portion of the meeting. Beforehand, I had asked everyone to brainstorm lessons learned, including the good along with the bad. What we found out were some things done very well, and some things that will actually result in some departmental changes.
Lastly, I took a little time and fewer than $30.00 US and created a little moment of my own appreciation to each and every team member for their individual contribution. It was small, but the entire team walked out with their heads held high and a small token to remind them of what they accomplished.
It is important to hold a project closure meeting with the entire team. It is important to recognize the projects celebrations as well as what went wrong and how to avoid it in the future. Most importantly, it is critical that you show your team appreciation for what they’ve accomplished. Your people are the ones who make you and your projects successful. I spent just over a dollar a person and it made them smile. It doesn’t take much, just some thought and a little time.
Congratulations on finishing your project on-time and under budget!! Now go wrap it up and put some closure on it!
James M Shaffer, PMP, is a project manager with experience in IT projects (web and infrastructure), large documentation projects for industrial equipment, and Integrated Logistics Support and Total Lifecycle Management (ILS-TLCM).