Monthly Archives: November 2013

Project Closure

Efficient Project Closure with Project Management Tools

Efficient Project Closure with Project Management Tools

How to close projects quickly and efficiently using our project management tools

Once all the deliverables within a project have been completed and approved by the customer, the project is ready for closure. Closing a project is a task not to be under-rated, as it requires the review of the entire project to date and the completion of a comprehensive set of closure actions. Take the following steps to close projects quickly and efficiently.

Step 1: Confirm Project Completion

The first step in closing a project is to confirm that the project is ready to be closed. The project is only ready for closure when all the completion criteria specified in the Terms of Reference have been met in full. Examples of completion criteria may include:

  • The project vision has been achieved.
  • All the project objectives have been met.
  • The project has resulted in the stated benefits.
  • All the deliverables specified have been produced.

If you’re confident that the project has met all of the completion criteria specified, then the next step is to identify any outstanding items using the specified project management tools. These are typically activities listed as “Incomplete” on the Project Plan; however they may also be miscellaneous risks, issues or general items that are noteworthy and need to be raised. Identify the outstanding items required to be completed, in order to confirm that the project is ready for completion.

Step 2: Identify Closure Actions

Now that you’ve confirmed that the project is ready for closure, you’re ready to document the actions needed to close the project, within a “Project Closure Report”. This report describes how the:

  • Deliverables will be handed over to the customer
  • Documentation will be handed over to the business
  • Supplier Contracts will be terminated and contractors released
  • Project resources will be released. This includes:staff, equipment and materials.

You should also identify the actions required to close down the Project Office, including the cessation of premise rental agreements and cancellation of supply accounts such as water, electricity and phone lines.

Step 3: Undertake Closure Actions

Following the approval of the “Project Closure Report” by the Project Board, the Project Manager will be responsible for undertaking each of the actions listed within the specified dates. The Project Manager and Project Sponsor will stay in close contact as each closure action is performed, to ensure that the project is closed quickly and efficiently.

Only after all of the actions specified within the Project Closure Report have been completed, will the project be designated as officially closed.

Project Time

Delivering on Time with Project Management Forms

Delivering on Time with Project Management Forms

To succeed as a Project Manager, you need to deliver projects on time and within budget. But delivering “on time” is not as easy as it sounds. A survey from the Standish Group estimates that up to 84% of projects fail to deliver on schedule. So how can you put processes in place to help you to deliver your projects on schedule? We suggest, by using these project management forms and by taking these steps:

3 Steps to Project Time Management

Time Management is the process of monitoring and controlling time spent within a project. By recording the actual time spent by staff on a project, you can:

  • Calculate the time spent undertaking tasks
  • Identify the staff cost of undertaking tasks
  • Control the level of resources allocated to tasks
  • Monitor the completion percentage of tasks
  • Identify any outstanding work required to complete tasks

To do all of this effectively within your project, you need to implement a structured Time Management Process. This process uses “Timesheets” upon which staff record their time spent undertaking tasks. The process also involves the use of a “Timesheet Register”, upon which you collate the time recorded by staff. With this information, you can update the Project Plan and assess whether or not the project is on time and likely to deliver within schedule. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Document Timesheet

The first step in the process is to capture all of the time spent completing project tasks, using the Timesheet from your project management forms. All project leaders, team members, staff and contractors responsible for completing tasks in the Project Plan should complete Timesheet forms to record the time they spend.

Timesheets exist in various formats, including paper, spreadsheet and software, and they should be used from the moment the Project Plan is approved until the project is closed.

To ensure that all staff members record their time accurately, they should complete their Timesheets as they complete each task, rather than waiting until the end of the reporting period to complete them. They should then forward their completed Timesheets to the Project Manager on a weekly basis for approval.

Step 2: Approve Timesheet

Upon review of each Timesheet, the Project Manager will:

  • Confirm the time spent against tasks listed in the Project Plan
  • Confirm the team member was delegated the task
  • Determine whether the time spent was reasonable
  • Identify whether sufficient progress has been made
  • Identify issues with the time spent and the progress achieved

Based on these conclusions, the Project Manager may decide to approve the timesheet, request further information from the staff member regarding the time spent, or decline it and raise a staff issue.
Step 3: Update Project Plan

After approval, the Project Administrator then enters all time recorded,  against the Project Plan. This allows them to identify:

  • The total time spent per project activity
  • The percentage completion of each project activity
  • The overall delivery of the project against the schedule
  • Tasks that exceed their completion date or forecast effort

The Project Manager is then notified of any exceptions and can choose to take corrective actions, such as:

  • Changing the team member assigned to the task
  • Allocating additional team members to the task
  • Providing additional time for completing the task
  • Requesting assistance from suppliers to help complete the task

Throughout the Time Management Process, the Project Administrator monitors and controls the time spent within the project, by keeping a Timesheet Register up-to-date.

And there you have it. If you take these 3 steps and use project management forms for performing Time Management within your project, you’ll greatly increase you chances of delivering projects on time and within schedule.