Chapter 5 – Project Life Cycle, Scope, Charters, Proposals
Phase 4: Closing Processes
At the end of our project or the entire project, we must get final approval from the customer, archive our records from the project, compile the lessons learned, and pay any outstanding bills. These and several other activities make up the closing processes. Closing processes include:
- Paying bills
- Releasing team members
- Closing accounts
- Shutting down facilities
- Writing final reports
- Seek approval from the customer
- Prepare an audit on the success of the project through retrospectives (lessons learned)
- Evaluation of team performance and Project Manager’s management of the project
There are many tasks involved in closing out a project. The responsibility of closure lies with the Project Manager and the team. HR can be involved with the team with specific activities.
Human Resources and Closure of Projects
Human Resources may assist with several elements of closure of projects. Through Lessons Learned and Performance Evaluations, the wisdom from the project is transferred back to the organization to help improve future projects.
Retrospectives are lessons learned on projects. Human Resources would work with the team (as an outside facilitator). They would act as a guide to lead the team through a workshop and process to identify what went well in the project, what they could have improved upon, and what type of follow-up action plan they could develop with goals and accountability. Human Resources, to perform this activity, needs to remain unbiased.
The Human Resources Specialist would design a workshop or purchase one that uses questionnaires. It focuses on the operation of the project and how the culture of the organization impacted the results. The team members also review mistakes made and failures within the project. This is important information for future projects. A review of successes is also documented. Each team member and the Project Manager participate equally, with no judgement. Each item addressed could be assigned to a team member who witnessed the success or failure and expanded on the success or failure. This person may serve as a contact person for future projects as a consultant.
The person may also communicate the report to other employees in the organization. These Lessons Learned would be documented by the HR Specialist, distributed to the appropriate stakeholders, and archived for future use. These archived documents will serve as tools for future team members to avoid the mistakes made and how successes were achieved. Retrospectives were almost non-existent until recently. They are becoming more important in organizations, therefore involving Human Resources more in project management.
Project Team Evaluation – Individuals
Performance management is important in the Planning Phase to encourage team success and project success. Human Resources would develop the performance plans for each team member and the Project Manager. The monitoring would take place regularly to ensure all team members and the Project Manager are performing continuously to the expectations of the roles assigned.
At the end of the project, Human Resources will want to support the team’s individual career development. The HR Specialist would set up a meeting with each team member to review the performance plan. They would measure the success against the criteria that were established at the beginning of the project. Given the project’s expectations, standards, organizational support and limitations, an effective performance review can be conducted.
Following the individual team member review, the exit strategy would be discussed with the employee. Post-project, the employee may return to their regular job, or if a consultant, they are released from the organization. Oftentimes, project employees seek promotions or are offered promotions within the company. Human Resources would support any of these transitions.
Project Team Evaluation – Team
Most often, team evaluation is omitted at the end of the project. This is unfortunate for the team members. It ought to be an important step in the Closure of projects. Human Resources could work with the team on evaluating the team’s problem-solving steps and processes, the team’s decision-making steps and processes, team unity, trust between team members and between the team and the Project Manager, and communication between and among the team. Project success depends on all these factors, as the quality of the product/service is dependent on the team.
This evaluation could be through a survey administered by the HR Specialist. The survey may be only offered to the team and Project Manager or to other stakeholders who had a vested interest in the project. Following the submission and analysis of the survey, the HR Specialist would meet with the team to review the results. These results would be used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the team, lessons learned, and the development of the team over time. This information is helpful for future teams and projects to communicate better and may offer better approaches to team development. The HR Specialist would prepare the report, distribute the reports to the stakeholders, and archive the documents.
Many of us have been part of a team. In College, you are part of a team/group. You work on group projects together. When all things are equal, and everyone does their “part”, the team will be successful in earning great marks. If this does not happen, sometimes, some team members take on larger portions than others in the team. However, everyone earns the same grade.
Do you prefer group work? Do you prefer individual work? Why?
How would you reward a team working on a project if some team members told you they “did more work” than other team members?
Project Manager Evaluation
If Project Managers were hired with the competencies, skills, leadership and management skills set out by Human Resources, the performance review ought to be positive. If they did a good job of producing a quality product/service to the customer, the performance will be applauded by all concerned. Similar to the team members, if the expectations, standards, support from the organization, and limitations were reviewed, post-project reviews ought to be admirable. In many cases, the same type of performance review would be completed with the Project Manager as the team members.
However, a popular evaluation today is the 360-degree review. It is a process where an employee would receive anonymous feedback from stakeholders based on performance. Trained Human Resources Specialists can conduct the 360-degree review. This method is for personal and professional growth. It is not intended to affect an employee’s position or pay. Three rules apply:
- It is completed confidentially by the identified stakeholders (could be the team, customer, functional department managers, the Project Manager themselves, and others deemed and agreed upon).
- The participation is anonymous, and the performance feedback will only go to the Human Resources Specialist, who, in turn, will critique the Project Manager based on the results.
- The review is only based on the time the project began until it finished.
The Human Resources Specialist would ensure the three rules were followed. The HR Specialist would review the report with the Project Manager. A career plan could be created for future career development.
As an employee, would you want to have a 360-degree evaluation? Why? Who not?
“3.6. Closure” from Essentials of Project Management by Adam Farag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.