Closing Software Development Projects
Project closure is perhaps the hardest part of a project mostly because it not only requires a thorough understanding of everything that has happened over the course of the project but also because it is the least action oriented part of the project lifecycle. It consists of documentation, meetings and sign offs – much like the project initiation phase except that there is no project work to look forward to and be excited about. In some cases, there are differences of opinion with regards to what constitutes a project close especially in software development projects that may have been undergoing frequent change requests.
Here are some tips on closing software development projects
- Gather all the signoffs and go through each deliverable with your team. Ensure that all the work has been completed as outlined in the contract, scope of work, requirements document, functional specifications etc.
- For items that have not been completed or you don’t see the sign off for it, start a discovery. Map the website or software to these missing items to see if the miss is in the project documentation or hasn’t been completed. In the event that it hasn’t been completed, go through emails and minutes to find out why the work was not completed.
- Worst-case scenario, there is no documentation to support the missing work, schedule a meeting with the client and layout all such items to them. Ask them on the course of action that is most acceptable to them. Chances are that the client doesn’t want them, which is why everyone forgot. However, have a conversation regarding these items. Internally first and then externally with client.
- A lot of communication occurs over email, which allows project managers to save significant time. However, an email sent does not guarantee that it has been read, and that the recipient has agreed to your proposition. Ensure that emails have a statement, which states that it would be deemed as accepted by the recipient after “n” days have passed. This is extremely important and should always be included in such emails where you do not expect a counter argument yet you need an affirmation from the recipient.
- Congratulate the project team on work well done and briefly highlight points in the project where mistakes were made.
- Document lessons learned. It will help the next project manager and project team assigned on similar projects as well as those who are working with the same client.