A project is a mini-series, not a soap opera (although sometimes during a project’s lifecycle it can feel like it will never end). In other words, a contained event with a beginning (initiation and planning), a middle (implementation) and end (delivery and use).
A project can be defined as “a complex, non-routine, one-time effort limited by time, budget, resources and performance specifications designed to meet client needs. Typically, it focuses on doing something that has never been done before.”
Their often complex nature means that each project’s ultimate success in meeting the end-user’s needs will be determined in large part by the quality of its beginnings, in laying the right foundations through precise planning. As the old adage reminds us, if you know where you’re going you have a better chance of reaching your destination.
But success also depends on a proper ending – a step that is too often bypassed. So while the project team prepares to hand over to the business team to commence day-to-day operations, it’s important to look back and review the work carried out during planning and implementation. This review should be collaborative and comprehensive, documenting the good, the bad and the ugly.
Issues to focus on in the review are:
- Did the project achieve its goal as set out in the scope document?
Did the project have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals? If a project doesn’t have a realistic goal, it is setting itself up for failure before the first task is completed.
- Did scope creep occur and what was its impact?
We’ve all worked on projects where what was eventually delivered bears only limited resemblance to the initial scope. While common, scope creep can play havoc with project timelines, cost and the end result. As we discussed in a previous blog, understanding the project brief is key to managing scope creep.
- Is the product working in line with expectations?
Technology projects typically aim to generate efficiencies in some form within the organisation. However, when engaging with a software company, sufficient prior research or analysis needs to have been carried out to check whether the vendor’s product set is in fact a good fit for your requirements. Successful projects ensure the appropriate analysis has been carried out during the initiation stages. Too often that’s not the case, and it will show in the results.
- Did the project stick to its budget?
Budget is a critical factor – without an appropriate budget there can be no project! The budget has to be realistic and should be determined by accurate estimates of the work effort involved. Budget is also one of the main areas that can be impacted by scope creep. A review during the project closing of the initial costings and final spend, and analysis of any discrepancy between the two, can therefore provide valuable insights.
- Were there sufficient and appropriate resources?
Was the project adequately resourced at each stage? Were the correct resources allocated? Were there any outstanding contributors to the project?
Alongside such questions it is important during the closing stage to acknowledge team members who went out of their way to ensure the project goals were met. Stakeholders who were not as involved as they should have been should also be called out.
- What could have been done differently?
Dispassionate 20/20 hindsight allows you to review the actions taken during each project and examine whether things could/should have been done differently. By recognising and learning from our mistakes, we can apply those lessons to future projects to improve their prospects for success.
The sobering reality is that across all industries approximately 70% of projects fail. Which is why proper project management, including a rigorous project closing review process, should always be a priority.
Deep Pool’s approach
At Deep Pool, the successful deployment of products to customers is our lifeblood, so we take each project extremely seriously. The review steps highlighted above are an integral part of our expert project team’s closing procedures before the handover to our experienced account management team. As years of experience have shown, getting the project steps right makes the subsequent ongoing product support easier and smoother – to the benefit of all parties.
ABOUT DEEP POOL
Deep Pool is the #1 investor servicing and compliance solutions supplier, providing cutting-edge software and consulting services to the world’s leading fund administrators and asset managers. Our flexible solution suite, developed by an experienced team of accountants, business analysts and software engineers, supports offshore and onshore hedge funds, partnerships, private equity vehicles, retail funds and regulated financial firms. Deep Pool is a global organisation with offices in Dublin, Ireland, the United States, the Cayman Islands and Slovakia. For more information, visit: www.deep-pool.com.