C. Myblog

Project Closure: The Handoff to Process Improvement

June 11, 2015

It is true that projects, by definition, have a definitive end. Planning for development and implementation is painstaking. Test cases are created and tried, there are usually at least a few bumps in the road but finally a project manager reaches the “go-live” date for the product, service or other initiative and, boom—the project is completed.

However, effective businesses don’t leave completed project outcomes “on the shelf” to collect dust. An important component of process excellence is reevaluation of completed initiatives by way of process improvement. In the initial stages of project management, key objectives for the project are defined and project managers get agreement from stakeholders that the project will meet the stated objectives. However, evolving consumer behavior and other changes in the economic and competitive landscape will always change the definition of success and will inevitably alter how effective old initiatives are for meeting current objectives. As such, it can be helpful to go back to the basic concepts of process improvement:

  • Define (or redefine) the objectives
  • Measure speed, quality, and cost
  • Analyze effectiveness based on the measures (in light of objectives)
  • Improve? Based on the outcome of the analysis, is improvement necessary to satisfy stakeholder objectives?

The moral of the story is a simple one: If a project is initiated and completed—but the process outcome no longer meets its intended objectives—it’s time to reevaluate the process.

A successfully implemented and completed project does not guarantee ongoing success. Continuing to monitor the performance against objectives will be critical. Too often businesses will leave established products, services, and processes on autopilot—which could be wasting valuable resources and potentially causing lost opportunities and/or revenue.

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