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Begin Your Projects With the End in Mind

Plant the seeds of successful adoption and benefits realization before you move on.

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Five anonymous contributors

  • Stakeholders are dissatisfied with IT’s inability to meet or even provide consistent, accurate estimates. The business’s trust in IT erodes every time a project is late, lost, or unable to start.
  • Team morale suffers from changing priorities, cancelled and delayed projects, and the repeated need to go back and rework (caused by poor quality code, poor requirements, poor design, etc.).
  • Even when projects are executed in a satisfactory manner, that is according to plan, it can be difficult to mark or define project closure.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Project closure begins with intake. Having a clear understanding of what makes a project complete will demand more careful consideration of requirements during planning.
  • Identify clearly measurable benefits. Force your sponsor to think about and document what makes this project successful upfront and define what that data will look like.
  • Plan for adoption monitoring. Don’t throw your project over the fence when it’s delivered. Make training and adoption monitoring a part of the project plan.

Impact and Result

  • Define project closure during initiation and planning. If you leave closure criteria as an afterthought, you are likely to stumble through it.
  • Make project closure a portfolio activity. Crispness around project closure is required for anyone to measure benefits attainment.
  • Make project closure practical and tactical. We start current and common problems. We map out processes to find weakness and then identify the closure points that need to be defined.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Thinking of project closure as the final activity, or the capstone of a project, is ignoring what the rest of the organization views as the most critical component: the benefits.

When you take a step back and look at a view of the entire project life cycle – to the point that makes any difference to the business, it is the “keystone,” or the central event that project success ultimately relies on.

1. Initiate and plan projects with closure in sight

This phase will walk-through an exercise to create a project initiation and a project planning SOP that clarifies closure requirements up front and ensures that they are aligned with the business goals of the project.

2. Close and transition effectively at the project and portfolio layers

This phase will focus on developing a process to close projects and transition accountability and responsibility for support and business benefits to the right areas.

3. Gain adoption and attain the business benefits outlined in the charter

This phase will help you focus on gaining adoption post-project and ensuring that the business gains the value that the project intended.

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