Using the 7 STEPS of a mini-project to CLOSE
The KEY to closing your project, or phase, successfully is to start a mini-project of
the few remaining things to be done, and close the original main project as much as possible.
Creating a mini-project of the few things remaining to be done, lets us focus in on that much smaller scope.
To manage your mini-project well, there are 7 simple steps to follow. They are:
1. Make a deficiencies list. This is the mini-project's Scope
2. List the goals to be completed
3. Make plans for the mini-project's Scope and Time
4. Set a budget for the mini-project
5. Plan the Human and Physical Resources needed for the mini-project
6. Monitor and Control the outcome of the mini-project
7. Get a sign-off of completion of the mini-project.
Follow these steps and you will end your project with confidence.
Instructions for these 7 steps are shown below:
Step 1. Make a Deficiencies List (sometimes called a “Punch List”) to identify the
Perceived Needs of the remaining work. This list of work that remains to be done becomes the "What" (Scope) of your mini-project. Be sure to include Key Stakeholders and get their input for this step. Get a signed agreement from your sponsor that this will be the end! Period!
a) Be cautious at this step not to invite scope creep. The original project scope is still the approved mandate. Zero-in on what was originally agreed to. Clearly identify what is included and what is not included in your mini-project.
b) Be sure to define a clear cut-off to the end of your mini-project. Be able to say, "When these things are done, our whole project is finished."
Step 2. List the Goals for the completion of your mini-project. From Step 1 (above) you already have "What" to do (the Scope), so now list "When" you want this finished (the time) and "How Much" it is to cost (the Cost). Remember to make your goals SMARTWAM (Click Here to download what this means)
Step 3. Make the Scope and Time Plan for your mini-project. The planning will be similar to your original project plan but can now be more detailed and accurate based upon how much more you now know about this specific project. Write out the Scope and Time plans for your mini-project, which will contain:
-the remaining work to be done
-training plans (if applicable)
-requirements for manuals and other documentation (if applicable)
-a schedule of the remaining work to be done. Set a final end date
-performance parameters, quality measurables
-methods to be used for measurements
-steps for turning over the project to the owner, or sponsor, or client
Step 4. Set a budget for this mini-project. Ensure that the funds are allocated and you have approval to spend.
Step 5. Plan the Human and Physical Resources needed for your mini-project project. Select the team for getting this mini-project done. Sometimes this means new people on the team or a whole new team. On a construction project there may be an entire new team that does commissioning and start-up, for example. Confirm that the needed resources are available. Then plan for disposition of un-required resources.
Human Resources: Remember to arrange for the disposition of un-required team members. Help displaced team members to find other work. If they cannot be useful on one of your projects, talk to other Project Managers about their good performance. If their performance was not good, release them as fast as your project allows. This simple act helps build your reputation as a Professional Project Manager and motivates other people to want to be on one of your teams.
Physical Resources: For physical resources remember to dispose of un- required tools, supplies, and equipment. Rentals can be very expensive, so return them if not required. Tools and supplies may be useable for another project so return them for others to use.
Step 6. Monitor and Control the execution of your mini-project just like any other project. This smaller project will be much simpler to control than the larger original project you started with. Put control mechanisms in place such as new procedures if required. Develop and use monitoring and controlling tools that are 'right sized' to your new mini-project, such as:
- Field Reports
- an Organizational Chart
- a Project Charter
Step 7. Get a sign – off of completion. Also, assertively advocate for a sign off of partial completion whenever you can. This way you can concentrate on an ever smaller scope to be completed. Remember:
- Anyone who has the power to accept or reject the deliverables must be required to examine and approve them after they are built.
- If it is not appropriate for the client to give you a sign off, then you send to them a confirmation letter or memo. When you send it, assume the “default position” that it is completed.
A WORD ABOUT SCHEDULES
QUESTION: What type of schedule would you use at the closure phase of your project ?
ANSWER: Probably a Gantt Chart of the remaining things to be done (your mini- project).
QUESTION: Why would a Gantt Chart be the appropriate tool at this phase ?
a) A Gantt Chart is probably sufficient for the low remaining level of complexity.
b) Gantt is an easy schedule to produce with minimum effort
c) With only a few items remaining in the Scope of your mini-project, a Gantt chart might fit on one page
d) It is very easy to track progress on a Gantt chart
In your Gantt chart for your mini-project REMEMBER to include:
- milestones as control points
- the final closure date
- time allowed to write reports such as:
a) an “end of project” report
b) a “lessons learned” report
Your mini-project is now complete and so is your whole (main) project. Do you see how the mini-project approach solves the obstacles you can encounter in closure? Let's review these obstacles and solutions: CLICK HERE.
The very last thing you will do in your project is the Clean Up.
Click on the CLEAN UP BUTTON to see that page.
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