In project management there are several steps that need to be taken in order for the project to be a success. Project management serves as a way for managers to plan, organize, motive, and control the resources when projects are implemented for specific goals. In project management there are several factors that go into initiating projects, which often add value to the organization. One of the first steps of any project are to define the problem before there is any action. The goals of the projects should always be in front of all the team members, in order for them to never lose sight. Communication is crucial for coordination, especially across parallel activities, and it’s in important to remain on schedule by working to together efficiently and effectively. The project management process is broken down in to five phases that include, project initiation, project planning and design, executing, monitoring and controlling, and finally closing. The close out phase in project management is crucial to the overall success or failure of the projects. Within the close out phase provides various factors that successful tie up loose ends, one in particular is the archive process which help to preserve and reserve projects for future use.
The close out phase is the last phase in the project management process. The close out phase consist of several sub-phases that essentially close out the contracts and finalize all the activities in the project. Once the project is successfully finalized, the project manager can hand it off to the client. The close out serves as an essential phase in documentation of the project to prevent the project from moving from the original scope, goals, budget, and schedule defined in the project plan. The close out phase includes, turning over project deliverables to operations, redistribution of the resources to all the systems, closing the financials, ending, collecting, and archiving project records. In the project close out phase, it is marked by sub-phases that include administrative and logistic tasks that are performed through the dispensing of all tangible data, primary documentations, and administrative closure that includes all the important activities for closure and archiving of historic project data.
Archiving projects is pertinent for all projects. According to the project management framework, archives are, “refers to the systematic storing of project artifacts (e.g., project charter, working documents, scale models) at the close of the project.” (OCIO, 2012) The importance of archiving projects is to retain documents and artifacts that are important in administrative closure. Archiving historic project data is pertinent in providing information for improvement in future projects. The type of project data that is usually archives includes, but is not limited to:
- Contract file
- Lessons Learned
- Project plan
- Project notebook
- Project concept document
- Project management and oversight review records
- Meeting notes
- Status reports
- Technical documents (files, tools, programs, etc)
Archives can generally be stored on most project management software and servers, and for major projects are stored in the state’s government archive dependent on the agency. The archive material is used a reference for future projects, and as a training tool for project managers. Archived projects can be used as estimates for new project plans, and performance metrics for planning and design of future projects and teams. Archives can differ from project to project, they can contain as little or as much data, information, and artifacts as it permits. The element of an archive are that it is generally apart of the administrative closure process, that house several historic project information, more importantly the Lessons Learned, for future use to project managers and organizations. The archives can be stored in a number of locations, dependent on the level of importance can be store in the state’s government project archives. Once stored in the government database, over a period of collecting numerous projects, an extensive database of projects can be used to develop realistic project plans for organizations.
Archives as mentioned, are useful in the collection of pertinent data and documentation for the operation and completion of the project. The archives serves as a point of reference and mechanisms that can be used in estimation, planning, training, and a guide for future projects and managers. A last step in the project close out phase is the project review process. The project review process is usually implemented by an independent examiner at the request of the project manager or the client /organization in order to conduct to what degrees of thoroughness the project was completed. It usually contains, project status, future status, status of critical tasks, risk assessments, relevant information to other projects, and limitations of the project review process. The project review process keeps clients and stakeholders informed of the project statues, which help to meet the needs of the completed project.
The review of data from the project can be located in the archives. The archives usually contain the essential information of the project including the necessary documentation used in recording, and implementing plans, resources, budgets, and etc. Project reviews can vary in their subject which can include; status meetings, executive reviews, independent reviews, technical reviews, and other informal reviews that measure the project environment. This information can also be found in store archives, where the clients and stakeholders are allowed to look up the entire the essential information on the project, as well as other relevant information on other projects. Project managers must track and review data at every phase for reviews that are contained in the archives. More importantly the project review process as well as archiving projects serves as a guide to improve the conclusions of the next project.
Heagney, Joseph. (2011). Fundamentals of Project Management, 4th Edition. AMACOM. New York, NY. “Project Management Framework Closure – Project Archive.” (2012). OCIO. Retrieved from http://ofm.wa.gov/ocio/pmframework/closure/archive.asp