A successful project completion process is more than simply handing a project over to the client or business.
It’s an opportunity to strengthen the reputation of your brand and consolidate your relationship with each client by providing a thorough overview of your hard work.
Despite this, project completion serves as one of the most misunderstood and poorly navigated areas for SMEs, agencies, and solopreneurs alike, spelling disaster for the longevity of their client relationships.
Having seen thousands of projects completed through our work collaboration platform, we’ve assembled this all-encompassing guide to project completion to help you better navigate the project handover process and strengthen your client relationships.
Ready? Let’s get started!
One of the most common misconceptions about project completion is that it’s the final stage of a project.
In reality, project completion is an ongoing process that starts from the moment a project goes into the initial preparation stage.
Here’s a short list of everything you’ll need to do to get the project completion process off to the right start:
Establish your Deadlines
Without establishing a set of realistic deadlines for each phase of the project, it’s difficult to establish a clear timeline for the project (and near-impossible to know how and when to wrap things up).
The best way to devise a realistic set of deadlines is to split the project into sprints of work:
A sprint refers to a period of time (usually between one and four weeks) in which certain tasks must be completed and prepared for review.
By taking a sprint-focused approach, you’ll gain full control over the project’s progress and streamline the revision stage with the client, allowing for a much smoother project completion process.
The best way to plan your project into sprints is by using a virtual Kanban board, which allows for an easy, agile and effective sprint-planning process.
Implement Risk Management
As we’re sure you’ll agree:
A client project rarely goes exactly as planned.
Despite this being common knowledge amongst team leaders, few project managers account for disruptions and setbacks when planning a project.
To ensure your project completion process won’t be disrupted by unforeseen circumstances, it’s important to:
- Conduct a risk assessment: This will highlight any risks the project is likely to encounter, as well as the probable consequences of each risk.
- Devise a risk management plan: This should encompass a step-by-step process for managing project risks, detailing how the project completion process will be kept on track in the event of a setback.
The easiest way to do this is by using a project risk management tool to audit a project’s level of risk and streamline the disruption management process.
Establish Transparency with the Client
One of the most common causes for a dispute over the project completion process is this:
The client hasn’t been provided with transparent information on the size, scope, and budget for the project.
One of the best ways to ensure a smooth project completion process is to establish transparency with the client from the very beginning.
In other words, you must remain honest, realistic, and open at all times when relaying information back to the client.
By offering transparency from the get-go, you establish clear expectations for the project’s completion and mitigate the risk of a dispute during the final stages of completion.
Now that you’ve set your project completion process up for success, it’s important to not let things fall by the wayside once the project gets underway.
Here are a few key tips on how to keep the project completion process on track during the implementation phase:
Create a Dependency Map
Now that the project is split into measurable sprints of work, there are two potential threats to the project completion stage:
- Individual sprints may become disconnected from the wider aim of the project
- Team members may not fulfill certain criteria for the project to progress to the next stage
The best way to circumvent these two issues is to create a dependency map.
A dependency map allows you to track the cross-sprint dependencies within the project. For example, a new product must be completed and rigorously tested before the advertising team can start working on a launch campaign.
An effective dependency map will not only ensure the smooth running of a project but also that individual sprints within the project are fully completed before progressing to the next stage.
Simplify your Progress Tracking
We get it, progress tracking isn’t the most exciting (or easy) aspect of executing a project.
However, it’s by far one of the most important parts of ensuring a successful project completion process.
The client will want a detailed overview of the work that’s been done, as well as how long it’s likely to receive the final set of deliverables.
Without effectively tracking a project’s progress, you run the risk of:
- Not having a clear understanding of how the project is progressing
- Misreporting your progress when it comes to the project completion stage
The best way to streamline your progress tracking is to keep it as high-level and simple as possible.
To simplify the process, you’ll want to:
- Collate the deadlines, milestones, risks, and sprints that make up the project
- Organise everything into workflows and timelines
- Consolidate the data into a Gantt chart to track the overall progress
By using a Gantt chart tool, you’ll be able to streamline your workflows and track your project progress in a high-level manner.
When your attention turns to the project completion aspect of the process, the Gantt chart serves as an excellent source of data for all aspects of the project’s progress.
Organise your Project Infrastructure
As already established, simplifying your progress tracking can keep everything in one place and steer the project towards a successful completion.
However, when it comes to actually completing and delivering the project, you’ll need quick access to your project infrastructure, which typically includes:
- Emails and instant messages (both between team members and to the client)
- Project documents
By not organising your project infrastructure, the handover process will be much more inefficient than it needs to be.
A great idea is to keep your project infrastructure in an interactive project dashboard, which structures all systems & applications into a centralised project hub.
Once the hard work has been done, it’s time to collate and complete the project completion process in earnest.
If you’ve followed the tips in this guide so far, this stage of the process should be a breeze:
Create a Project Completion Report
A project completion report is a document that outlines the progress and success of a project upon completion. It serves two main purposes:
- To present an all-encompassing summary of the completed project to the client (as well as any relevant stakeholders)
- To serve as a future reference for those who delivered the project
When compiling a project completion report, be sure to include:
- Detailed information on the planning & execution of the project
- A breakdown of the project’s budget (and how it was spent)
- Any risks or setbacks encountered (and how you overcame them)
- Lessons learned & plans for development
With the project completion report serving as the backbone of your project completion strategy, you’ll want to make sure it leaves a good impression on the client:
High-quality reporting software will ensure your project completion reports are visually appealing and rich in data, making the project completion process even easier.
Once you’ve generated your report, it’s time to collate the rest of your deliverables and move on to the final stage of the process:
Inform the Client
Now that the project completion process has been wrapped up, it’s time to inform the client of the good news!
To inform the client of the project’s completion, it’s worth doing it in two separate stages:
- Verbally: If possible, it’s best to inform the client of the good news in person. If this isn’t possible, a video call or phone call are also excellent options.
- In writing: Next, it’s important to document the project completion in writing (and subsequently transfer the final deliverables).
And there you have it! An all-encompassing guide to effective project completion.
If you’re looking to streamline your project completion process, why not use Verto. Our partnership with Microsoft Teams comes packed with a range of tools that will allow you and your team to work in unison. Instead of running two separate systems, and having to constantly change between the two, Verto gives you the power and tools of both, under one roof.
The result? A more streamlined workflow and seamless integration. Start your free trial today and see what Verto can do for you.