December 12, 2017

Your Tuesday Top 5: How to End a Project

Posted by AGU Career Center

Every Tuesday, Patricia Yaya, AGU Vice President of Human Resources & Administrative Services, sends a message to the entire AGU staff featuring five short tips for getting by in the workplace.  On the Job will be publishing these tips in a new weekly segment, Tuesday Top 5.

Projects should end. By their very definition, projects are “temporary endeavors that have a clear beginning and a clear end.” Upon closure, there are several items that should be completed to ensure better outcomes the next time.

Here are your Tuesday Top 5 tips for how to end a project:

1.      Know when to say when.

We’ve all been there: sometimes it’s hard to throw away a project because of all the time and effort spent on it. Yet, some projects need to end, regardless of their status. Keep emotions out of it and conduct an objective review, considering alternatives and options. Know when it’s time to walk away from lesser value or outdated efforts and shift focus and attention to higher value and priority.

2.      Communicate to the key stakeholders.

Check to ensure that all tasks have been completed and that all change requests have been processed. Complete any tasks/orders that remain incomplete/open. Upon completion, advise key stakeholders, including the project team, that the project is closing and to expect to be asked for lessons learned feedback shortly.

3.      Conduct lessons learned.

After all project tasks are completed, it is important to conduct lessons learned. Ask those on the project and those affected by the results of the project what went well, what could be improved and what could be done differently next time. Be respectful, honest and accountable when providing and receiving feedback.

4.      Recognize the team and their efforts.

Celebrate success and acknowledge those who helped you succeed. Providing recognition of an individual and/or team accomplishments is key to raising self-esteem, reinforcing value, and encouraging even greater results in the future. This applies to all closed projects, even those that never came to fruition but had considerable efforts applied to them.

5.      Learn from and apply your lessons.

For every project, chances are that there were both good and bad experiences, outcomes and the like. Learn from those by repeating the good and eliminating or reducing the bad when planning the next similar project.

Patricia Yaya is the Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services at the American Geophysical Union.  Additional AGU Staff contributed to this blog.