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What to Do When You Complete a Project

So you're about to complete your (successful) project. Filing the final report, however, isn't the project manager's last task. You need to help your team members transition off the project, acknowledge their efforts, and inform others that the project is complete.

As part of successfully finishing your own project, help project team members complete their project responsibilities and move on to their next assignments. Handling this transition in an orderly and agreed-upon fashion enables people to focus their energies on completing their tasks on your project instead of wondering where and when their next assignments will be.

In particular, do the following:

  • Acknowledge and document team members’ contributions. Express your appreciation to people for their assistance on your project, and share with them your assessment of their performance. Take a moment to thank their supervisors for making them available to your project, and provide the supervisors with an assessment of their performance.

    As a general rule, share positive feedback in public; share constructive criticisms and suggestions for improvement in private. In both cases, be sure to share your comments with team members personally and follow up your conversation in writing.

  • Help people plan for their transition to new assignments. If appropriate, help people find their next project assignments. Help them develop a schedule for winding down their involvement with your project while making sure they fulfill all their remaining obligations. Consider holding a final project meeting or lunch to provide your team members closure on their work and project relationships.

  • Announce to the organization that your project is complete. You can make this announcement in an e-mail, in an announcement on the company intranet, in a meeting, or through an organization-wide publication, such as a newsletter.

    You need to make this announcement for the following three reasons:

    • To alert people in your organization that the planned outcomes of your project are now available

    • To confirm to people who supported your project that their efforts led to a successful result

    • To let people know they can no longer charge time or resources to your project

  • Take a moment to let team members and others who supported your project know the true results of the time and work they invested. Nothing can give your team members stronger motivation to jump into the next assignment and provide continued high-quality support than telling them about the positive results of their previous work.

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