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We worked Saturday with a great company (and management team), collaborating on better defining their strategy initiatives.

One topic was how they finish projects for customers. While this step could be treated as an afterthought, it’s actually a critical stage on multiple dimensions. If it’s done thoroughly and promptly, it leads to greater success and satisfaction for clients and stronger profitability for the company. Done poorly (i.e., dragging on too long), it can trigger client dissatisfaction on an otherwise successful project and deteriorate profitability as project managers rack up uncompensated hours and can’t move to other projects.

Thinking about it later, finalizing a project is an important phase to have end really well for any project-based business, whether you’re serving external or internal clients.

From working with our client and thinking about this strategic, final step, here are questions we’re considering for Brainzooming™ that apply broadly:

  • Near project’s end, are we revisiting the deliverables and to-do lists, updating and aggressively managing open issues?
  • Are there clear cues signaling we’re done with the project?
  • Does the client fully understand its role in working with the output and implementing it successfully after the project is handed over?
  • What specific questions are we asking to gauge how well we delivered? Are we addressing any points of concern promptly and satisfactorily?
  • Are we asking for referrals?

These are just some questions any project-based professional needs to be answering. What items would you add to the list from your experience?Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3 Responses to “Strategies for Finishing a Project”

  1. Jan Harness says:

    I’d also consider how the end product is “packaged” — even if it is a Word doc, whether the successful conclusion warrants a celebration of some type, and the ever important “Thank you!” to the client.

  2. Mike Brown says:

    Great additions Jan! It’s so easy to overlook celebration as an important step in bringing closure to a project. Appreciate the reminder!

  3. PM Hut says:

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve published a small series on this particular subject. The first article in the series is the scope verification (the rest of the articles are linked from there).

    Project closure is a very important phase in any project, and proper project closure differentiate good from bad project managers. Unfortunately, quite a few (bad) project managers do not take it seriously, and they’re just happy that the project is finished.

    Most people are good at starting and working on things, but rare are those who can close things.