Consider Post-Project Issues


Our blog series – “Master Project Management” covers some of the essentials of the art and science of project management. It talks about defining true needs, building a solid team, and performing a financial analysis. It addresses how you can find the right balance points between extremes like “managing everything vs. managing nothing” and “doing work yourself vs. letting the team do everything.” This series will help develop the foundation you need to become a high performing project manager.

Consider Post-Project Issues

Think about projects you’ve worked on in the past. What was happening six months or a year after the project was officially over? Did the results get preserved? Did someone take ownership and weave them into the way that work is done? Or were your final results captured only in a project binder that then sat on a shelf, collecting dust?

If the results fell into the “collecting dust” category, you’re not alone. But you can avoid that fate in the future if everything you plan and do during the project is with a consideration of what will happen after the project is over. This is called having a full life cycle perspective. When considering solutions, for example, think about who will have to implement that solution, under what conditions, and with what background and training. Think about collateral costs in the long term: the ease and cost of maintaining equipment, the ease of updating instructions, and so on.

Your knowledge of how, why, when, and where your project’s deliverables will be used should form the basis for making decisions throughout the entire project:

Consider practicality and feasibility: When considering solution ideas, put “practical” high on the list. Having a solution that’s slightly less than perfect but that people actually use is much better than a perfect solution that people won’t use. The better you understand true customer or user needs, the more likely it is that you will be able to come up with ideals that people will use long after the project is over.

Consider long-term ownership: There has to be someone—usually a manager or supervisor in the work area—who will have ownership over the output from your project in the long run. Involve this person in the planning up front. Conduct specific handoff meetings where responsibility is transferred to that person.

Make it easy to do the “new thing”: Given the chance, we will all do what is “tried” even if it’s no longer so “true.” Your project will result in some deliverables that make change necessary—using a new method, offering a new service, following different guidelines. Make sure all workplace instructions, documentation, software, training materials, etc., are updated and use mistake-proofing tactics to make it impossible for people to fall back into old habits.

WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.

Next Step: Manage Interfaces

“Project Management: 24 Lessons to Help You Master Any Project” by Gary R. Heerkens is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. Purchase the book on Amazon.