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Managing the TBT projectpixel.gif (807 bytes)

pixel.gif (807 bytes) The morning after the night before
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THE CLOSING PHASES of projects tend to be the most frantic and the most tiring. When the product has gone out to the client and all is quiet on the Western front, it’s nice to enjoy a period of relative calm, with no more problems to solve and no more adjustments to the project plan. There is, however, one more task to be completed before the project team disbands – the end of project review.

Is this really necessary? After all, the project is all too fresh in your mind. You and everyone else on the team know all there is to know about the project. The answer is that the review is necessary, for these reasons:

  • hopefully this will not be your last project, so you can learn from your experience
  • you will have done things well which you can carry over to future projects and pass on to other project managers
  • you will have made mistakes which you will not want to make again and which you will not want others to make
  • you will have developed solutions which could be built in to standard practice for all future projects
  • you will be better equipped to conduct risk analyses on future projects
  • you will be able to make better estimates of time and cost on future projects
  • you will want to recognise the efforts of your team members

Here’s how to conduct the review:

  • involve all key members of the team, if not everyone
  • conduct a review meeting, in which comments can be made freely; try to avoid being defensive, even though your actions may be criticised
  • if the cause of a problem is not clear, conduct a thorough problem analysis and identify actions that will prevent recurrence
  • make sure that you identify as many positive lessons as negative ones
  • write up the meeting along with recommendations for changes to future policy and practices; circulate the report to your own manager, members of the team and other project managers
  • conduct a similar review with the client, focusing on ways that you can work together better on future projects

And that’s that. You’re happy because you’ve got a big rise. The client’s happy and is going to give you more work. The trainees are happy because they got the training they needed when they needed it. All is happy in the garden.

Some chance - this is a software project after all. If you wanted a quiet life, you chose the wrong job. But you may start to have more successes than failures, and where you do have failures, at least you’ll be learning from them. At last, some feeling of control.

Clive Shepherd is running a series of two-day TBT project Management workshops in 1999 for the Institute of IT Training. For further information, contact the Institute on +44 (0)1203-418128 or by e-mail at info@iitt.org.uk.

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                                                     Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1999. All rights reserved.                                Last revised 21/2/99