Capture knowledge to enable continuous learning

Projects are difficult to start.  Experience shows that they are often no less difficult to end.

 Closedown is often grossly underestimated, which is why many project managers continue to carry out thankless tasks long after the project has delivered the products and is officially over.

 A robust closure process is required to bring a project to a successful end and ensure that the deliverables are fully owned by the business organization and that benefits will be realized. 

 Perhaps more importantly, closing is an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and how things could have been done differently to ensure better performance on future projects.  To maximize learning, disseminate these lessons to a wider audience in the organization.

 The process for conducting a post implementation review is shown in the diagram below.  Note that the word ‘client’ refers to the person who commissioned the report, as a post implementation review can be internal or external.

The organization / key stakeholder will want to discover:

  • What was learnt from the project?
  • Where can improvement opportunities be identified?
  • Can the organization improve on the results so far?

 This review normally incorporates a more thorough retrospective review of the project together with a summary of the realized business improvements, which at this later date should now be apparent.

Alexander Lowry

PA Consulting Group

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