Experienced project managers in construction will often tell you that the last part of the project seems to require the most effort. You’re closing out a project and it’s time to make sure all the paperwork is together and that all required activities have been completed. This closeout period is all that stands between acceptance of the job. Here are some things to keep in mind for a successful wrap-up.
Starting Closeout Early
The best approach to project completion is preparing for closeout from the beginning. Imagine not keeping track of documents and other project metrics until the very end of the job. Scrambling to get everything together when the completion date is looming is not good management and may even be a violation of your contractual obligation. Organize and manage your project with the end goal in mind. This includes using the right tools and regularly monitoring job progress.
Tracking Closeout Activities
Acceptance of a completed project usually requires the execution of several inspections and tests. You can make the closeout process a lot smoother by looking ahead. If a final inspection requires coordinating with multiple entities, it’s not a good idea to wait until the last minute to set up meetings to discuss inspection and testing processes. For example, if you needed to conduct a sewer smoke test for a wastewater pipeline, ideally you’d arrange to have it done before you get to that point in your work activities.
Coordinating in Advance
The best projects tend to have coordination meetings before major milestones or certain activities. Project closeout is a major milestone and you should meet with interested parties to discuss the particulars in advance. This is a good idea to make sure everyone is on the same page with respect to expectations and requirements.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel as you move toward project completion. If you haven’t prepared for closeout, that light might seem like an oncoming train. Formally finishing a job is a process that requires early and regular monitoring and coordinating to maximize the chance of it going smoothly.