October 6, 2009
Some companies make the mistake of only considering a project close-out from an engineering perspective. Your project close-out procedures should also consider business aspects.
You should also stop and consider commercial aspects to your close-out process. From a financial perspective, there should be procedures to ensure that all billing has been completed, including change orders. In some cases, Alliance Partners require that all payments are received, even client authorization to close the project.
Marketing and Sales Opportunity
Finally, there are marketing and sales considerations during project close-out. Some Alliance Partners require that a customer story be written, even if it will only be kept internally. Ideally, it can be used in future marketing efforts. Satisfaction surveys are also a common practice – not just as a mandatory quality process, but as a chance of looking for the next opportunity. Some Alliance Partners ‘require’ the salesperson to meet with the client to complete the survey. If the feedback is good, then it is certainly a good time to ask about the next project or a customer reference. Even if it is not good, you can reinforce your professional approach and desire to do better the next time.
September 29, 2009
With the system is successfully commissioned, it is time to close-out the project. Just as there should be a defined process to kick-off a project, there should be a define process to close a project. Consider developing a check list (just like project kick-off) that must be done.
First and foremost, your project close-out should include adequate steps to make sure all project information and materials have been properly stored for future reference. This should include procedures to incorporate any field changes made during the commissioning, so that the final project information accurately reflects the final deployed solution.
Alliance Partners will commonly require some sort of project review. At a minimum, it is a chance to review lessons learned and share them with the rest of the staff. More importantly, it is an opportunity to capture IP. What can be reused for future projects including software architecture, hardware designs, even methodologies and techniques? You should also have procedures to ensure that all project documentation is completed and properly stored.
Next week, we’ll cover the commercial aspects of project close-out.