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When Is a Project Actually Over?

In the game of chess, there’s no credit for almost winning. Every move, however clever, is completely meaningless if you cannot capture the king. And so it is with project management. To realize a project’s value (and for your own satisfaction for a job well done) you’ll need to improve your endgame. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Kevin Korterud shows us four moves for ending the project.

4 Winning Moves

  1. Complete the project adoption schedule.
  2. Measure against the project business case.
  3. Assure regulatory compliance.
  4. Pay it forward.

If you want the project to end successfully, you first need to define success. This is usually not as simple as technology implementation, a sign-off on a deliverable, or the ‘okay’ from a stakeholder. Real project completion involves a host of variables, such as complete adoption of new products or processes, for which Korterud recommends an adoption schedule. The adoption schedule is the set of “timeframes, functions, and geographies, by which the outputs from the project are to be assumed by the various stakeholders.” It dictates an outcome-based path for ending the project.

Satisfying the original business case for the project is a surefire way to know the project is over, but how do you know that you’ve actually done that? By establishing business case checkpoints, says Korterud. Metrics derived from various checkpoints will eventually create a snapshot that determines whether or not the project satisfies its original business objective.

Beyond the business case is regulatory compliance. Compliance is actually a major indicator of project completion. Even if your project meets business requirements, failure to comply with regulations hampers its eventual impact by creating delays and setbacks. Lastly, consider that every ending is a potential new beginning. The fact that projects often end with a “lessons learned” session is little consolation if successful strategies get filed into obscurity. Linger a bit to taste sweet victory. Assets and best practices ought to be divulged to the organization’s PMO where artifacts are captured to be used in future projects.

Read the original post at: http://www.projectmanagement.com/blog/Voices-on-Project-Management/14006/

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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