It's good practice to review all projects at their completion. A Post Project Review should be performed in addition to a Lessons Learned. Reviewing your project to see how actuals compared to planned gives you a good 30,000 foot view of the project's performance. The post project review along with Lessons Learned provides meaningful input to future projects. Be sure to also download our Lessons Learned Template.
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|Post Project Review|
1. Project Summary
This section of the Post Project Review should provide a summary of the project which was completed. It is important that this summary captures the scope of the project and contains enough detail to provide a full understanding of the project. Since this document will communicate what went right and wrong with the project, as well as lessons learned and recommendations for future projects, it is imperative that this section provide enough background information to base the details in the rest of the document on.
Cable Tech recently completed the MicroFiber Cable Project which has been transitioned to the operations group for manufacturing. This marks the end of a difficult but successful project for the Cable Tech research and development (R&D) group. The objective of this project was to design a new optical fiber cable which is smaller than our current line of cable products without sacrificing any performance parameters. The purpose of this is to reduce material costs by utilizing less material in the manufacturing of smaller cables and to grow our customer base by providing smaller cables which are able to fit in smaller or congested ducts and conduits.
The scope of this project included a phased approach for the design, testing, customer trials, and transition to manufacturing for the new MicroFiber Cable Project. Project success was defined as designing and manufacturing a MicroFiber cable product which passed all performance and mechanical testing, achieved the goal of smaller cable diameters, received positive customer feedback in trials, and was able to be transitioned to production without significant capital investments.
2. Project Team Staffing
This section provides information about who the project team consisted of. This usually includes names, titles, project role, and contact information. This information is useful when questions may arise on future projects which are similar in nature. It also provides a useful list of points of contact should more information be needed on lessons learned from the project.
The Cable Tech MicroFiber Project consisted of a skilled and knowledgeable team. The chart below provides information about MicroFiber Project team members:
MicroFiber project team members utilized standard project management methodologies to successfully complete the project. The project team was a matrixed organization with full support from functional managers and senior leadership. Effective communication, detailed planning, stakeholder involvement, project management tools, and organizational structure all played key roles in the project’s success.
Staffing lessons from previous projects were used in building the project team. Rather than allocate too many resources, as some past projects have done, the MicroFiber team was staffed with one resource per development area. The project sponsor made clear to the project manager that if any additional resources were required, they must be requested through standard Cable Tech channels and the impact on project cost and schedule would need to be defined.
3. Project Deliverables (Planned vs. Actual)
This section of the Post Project Review describes the expected outcomes of the project as it was originally planned and compares these outcomes against the actual outcomes. This is beneficial in defining any occurrences of scope creep or whether a project may not have been completed as planned. This is helpful information for lessons learned and for future project teams conducting similar projects.
The Cable Tech MicroFiber Project has been completed successfully. There were planned deliverables for each phase of this project as well as for the completed product. This section highlights the planned deliverables and compares them to actual deliverables as they occurred.
MicroFiber Production (Prototype)
MicroFiber Final Project Deliverables
In summary all documented project deliverables have been met by the MicroFiber project team. All stakeholders have submitted their feedback and acknowledge that there are no deliverables which were missed or omitted for this project.
4. Transition to Operations
Here, the Post Project Review describes the transition of the project to operations upon completion. This section should include any difficulties or challenges faced during this transition. This section should also highlight what went right during the transition so future projects may reference and use best practices to improve project performance.
Transition of a project to an operational environment can be a challenging task for many organizations. Cable Tech ensures that R&D and operations leadership practice effective communication throughout a project’s duration to ensure continuity once the transition takes place. Additionally, Cable Tech encourages that all project managers include senior operations leadership as stakeholders in all projects.
The MicroFiber project was successfully transitioned to operations as a direct result of effective communication and detailed planning. The inclusion of the Vice President of Operations, shift managers, and business unit leaders as stakeholders ensured a collective approach to the creation of an improved product which could be transitioned smoothly to a manufacturing environment.
Future projects can benefit by involving operations staff early in the project planning phase and soliciting input from operations team members on important considerations for the project from an operational perspective. The MicroFiber team was not only successful in communicating and planning with operations staff but they leveraged these strengths to determine expectations of what operations required as part of the transition. In this case, the project team was able to develop complete technical data packages and process specifications for operations to use in the manufacturing of the MicroFiber product. This resulted in an almost seamless transition of product lines on the manufacturing floor. If the operations staff had not been included as stakeholders nor participated in the project planning, it is likely this step would have been overlooked and the project would have encountered delays and additional costs.
One area of improvement would be to build all prototype products on manufacturing lines with operations personnel assisting as opposed to R&D personnel building products in the R&D lab. This would have allowed operations personnel to gain familiarity with the product earlier in the project’s lifecycle and facilitated an even smoother transition period.
5. Project Costs
This section of the Post Project Review should describe how the planned or budgeted costs for the project compare with the actual costs. Costs may be affected by scope creep, poor planning, schedule delays, progressive elaboration, or many other factors. This section should highlight whether or not costs were controlled adequately and if there were additional or excessive costs the reasons should be stated. It is important to communicate why costs were met or may have been higher than planned so future projects can benefit from this information in building a more effective project management methodology within the organization.
The budgeted cost for the Cable Tech MicroFiber Project was set at $6,600,000. This cost was broken out by project phase in the following chart with actual costs compared to the planned/budgeted cost.
Total actual costs of the MicroFiber Project amounted to $6,525,000. The MicroFiber project was not only successful in meeting all of its objectives and deliverables, but by completing under budget, it also allowed Cable Tech to allocate $75,000 to other important initiatives.
Product design was completed under budget. This was due primarily to the fact that the MicroFiber product’s performance specifications are identical to our previous product line and that the only required change was reducing the cable size and diameter. This resulted in slightly less design work than anticipated.
Prototype builds was completed over budget. The reason for this was that one of the cable lines malfunctioned during the build and a cable had to be re-built. The line time, labor, and material waste were not included in the budgeted amount for this portion of the project resulting in an overrun.
Trial cable builds and installation was completed under budget. The primary reason for this is that the smaller cable diameters allowed for easier installation of the cables at trial customer premises. This resulted in taking less time for installation which resulted in lower actual cost for this portion of the project.
Testing and transition to operations completed on budget for this project. Past project documentation was used in developing our budgets for these portions of the project. By utilizing Cable Tech project archives and standard best practices we were able to plan accurately and complete the work according to plan.
6. Project Schedule
This portion of the Post Project Review describes the project’s planned schedule or timeline and how the project measured against this plan. This information is helpful in identifying and understanding what may have contributed to project delays or allowed the project to complete early or on time. This can then be used by the team members on future projects or be referenced by other project teams for use on future projects. Archiving project information during the project closure phase is one of the best ways for an organization to improve its project management methodologies and effectiveness.
The Cable Tech MicroFiber Project schedule called for a one year project with initiation beginning on January 1, 2011 and project closeout ending on December 31, 2011. There were initial concerns by the project team that the schedule would potentially slip due to the small number of resources assigned to the project. The below chart shows each phase of the project lifecycle, the planned schedule dates, and the actual completion dates of each phase.
Many Cable Tech projects do not complete a thorough project closure phase. This is usually due to earlier project phases completing late which results in having to cut short or omit this important final phase. The MicroFiber Project successfully completed each phase on time which can be attributed to effective planning and communication as well as sponsor and executive level support of this important initiative. Throughout the project there was a strong sense of cooperation across the organization as the importance of this project was stressed and its benefits were realized.
During the initiation and planning phases there was concern among the team members that there were inadequate resources assigned to this project. However, due to the many similarities between MicroFiber and the previous product line, additional resources were not needed and the assigned staff was adequate to complete all work packages in the planned timeframes.
The only project phase which encountered schedule problems was the prototype build phase. This was due to a cable line malfunctioning and a prototype cable having to be rebuilt. The project team was able to reallocate its resources and complete the rebuild within the planned timeframe.
This section of the Post Project Review Template highlights any recommendations and lessons learned which would be of use on future projects. This is a valuable part of the project closeout phase and organizational project archives. In the project planning phase one of the first steps is to research organizational archives to identify useful information for planning and executing a project. These recommendations and lessons learned are one of the most important pieces or project success in any effective project management group.
The MicroFiber Project was an example of a carefully planned and successfully executed project for Cable Tech. However, it is not without its recommendations or lessons learned.
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