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Project-Closure-Report-Template-Free-Download.docx

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Project Closure Report

Like all aspects of a project, its closure should be planned and tracked. This may one of the more overlooked aspects of project management, but its benefits and importance to the project and future ones like it are highly valued by project managers. A good project closure report should be the basis for a project plan for a similar future project.

The report compares between the plan at the beginning of the project, and the final outcome of it. This output is then presented to the key stakeholders, the client and vendors, and to the team members. This report is usually quite emotional, especially in a long term project. It is the final output of the team, and they know that once it’s completed, the project is finally over.

Completion Criteria

In order for the project to be officially closed, the following basic criteria must be met –

  1. The major milestones have been completed
  2. The above have met their quality specifications
  3. The key stakeholders (internal and external, i.e. the client) have accepted the closure and have signed off on it.
  4. The project has been completed on time and on budget (certain flexibility is acceptable here of course).

These criterions above can change from project to project, and must be defined upon its official kick off.

The Methodology

The most important steps of the closure report are –

  1. Actual vs. planned: the first step is to compare the actual timeline, scope, budget, quality and resource use to the planned ones at the beginning (or at the last scope change). This step will give a good sense of how successful the project was (the more successful, the closer the actual will be to the planned). This step is done by the PMO, and approved by the PM / COO.
  2. Interviews of the major team members: Once step #1 is completed, they should be presented to the team leads and managers in order to get their input, remarks and lessons learned. Also their contributions should be formally recorded and recognized, for future evaluation and compensation.
  3. The client needs to formally sign off on the project, herby confirming that the company has met all of its obligations as stated in the SOW / contract.
  4. A checklist with the major tasks of a closure report needs to be put together and approved.
  5. The CFO must approve that all of the expenditure is accounted for, and that all of the PO’s (Purchase Orders) have been fulfilled. In some cases an audit is required, in order to present to the customer that all of their payments were received.
  6. Identifying the records which need to be kept after the project has been completed is a very important step. Depending on the clients’ field of business and country, there are several rules & regulations which must be adhered to regarding record keeping. Any and all legal signed documents, PO’s, payments received and authorized and any other documents which the legal counsel of the company specifies must be kept and recorded. This can also help with planning a new project in a similar field.
  7. Once the above steps are completed and signed off by the PM and stakeholders, It must be communicated to all involved that work on the project must discontinue unless told otherwise.
  8. Once step #6 is done, all payments involved in the project need to be discontinued.
  9. If a maintenance project is signed (or included in the original contract), then the final scope in the project closure report will be the beginning point of the maintenance project.

The importance of a checklist

The attached checklist needs to be filled out and signed as a part of the report. Even seasoned PM’s and PMO’s who have brought many projects to a full closure, may sometimes overlook basic steps of the report. A checklist is the best way to avoid these mistakes, which may leave a bad taste in the mouths of otherwise happy and content clients. The checklist should also specify who is responsible for the tasks which appear in it.

All lists are prone to change according to the client, the company, the country and many other factors. The attached list specifies the basic and most important tasks, which should appear in any closure report.

Best Practices

The following points should be kept in mind when putting together a project closure report –

  • Closing a report might be an emotional task for team members who have been involved in the project from the kick off, and have come to see the project as their “baby”.  Keeping this in mind, it may be a good idea to bring in a team of people who weren’t directly involved in the project, or may have recently joined. This will ensure objectivity and that this task is seen as just another one in the projects’ lifecycle.
  • Since this is the last major work of the project, and is usually done after the final deliverable has been signed off by the client, it may be not taken seriously by all of the team members. Perceiving the closure report as a mini-project with milestones, deadlines and a work plan can ensure that the report will be completed in a timely manner.
  • Like any other tasks, planning this one well in advance will improve its final outcome.
  • While debriefing the team members, it is a good idea for their immediate supervisor to review their work on the project and give them any constructive criticism. Most companies do this exercise on a yearly / bi-yearly basis, but at the closing a project is a much better time to review and analyse the team members’ contributions and personal KPI’s.
  • The above debriefing (or interviews) should be done in a structured manner, with the projects’ goals clearly listed and weather the team member helped in its achievement.
  • Usually the PMO writes the report, and the PM or COO approves it.

Be sure to check out the Free Project Status Report Templates from Techno-PM, and start streamlining your project management today.

PROJECT-CHARTER-TEMPLATE.docx

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PROJECT CHARTER

 

What is a Project Charter?

A Project Charter is a must-have in any project, as prescribed by the PMBOK® Guide and other methods. It is a document that summarizes the key information about a project and that announces to the world, aka, your organization, that there is a new project on the block. The Charter appoints a project manager for the project and assigns it the authority to proceed.

 

Why do I need one?

Do not underestimate the value of a project charter as just yet another management document! The main reason why you need a Charter is because without a Project Charter, your project exists only in your dreams, my friend.

Having a project charter provides your project with the following benefits:

  • Formally authorizes the project
  • Creates a vision and a shared understanding about the project
  • Empowers the project manager to lead the project
  • Identifies the high-level objectives and scope of the project
  • Defines what will success look like
  • Enables support for the project to be gained
  • Ensures that key stakeholders are aware of the project
  • Secures budget and resources for the project
  • Serves as a point of reference for the project team

 

What should it contain?

While most project management methods and frameworks prescribe the use of a project charter of some sort – either called one-pager, charter, or mandate -, there is no defined composition for its template. However, a principle to consider is that any good Project Charter will help you clarify the What, Why, Who, When and at What Cost of the project. According to the PMBOK® Guide, these are covered by the following sections in a Project Charter:

  • Project Information: includes the ID and name of the project, name of the project manager, and project sponsor
  • Business need, problem or opportunity: what is the main driver for this project to exist? What is the context from which it was born?
  • Project Objectives and Benefits: what are you trying to achieve with the project? Try writing your objectives as SMART objectives – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bounded
  • Project Organization: describes the governance of the project, including key roles for its management and direction
  • High-level project scope: at a very high-level, the project charter should be able to outline the boundaries of the project, i.e., what will be in scope and out of the scope of the project, as well as key deliverables to be created by the project
  • High-level project timescale: at a very high-level, the project charter should be able to list the key stages and estimated duration for the project, as well as its key milestones
  • High-level project budget: at a very high-level, the project charter should be able to identify the budget requirements of the project, including capital and revenue expenditure forecast
  • Key assumptions: main assumptions that may impact the project if proven false
  • Key project risks: main risks that may impact the project if they materialise
  • Success criteria: key measures to assess the success of the project

To make your life easier, I’ve produced a simple project charter template that you can download here. Ready to use!

 

Best Practices when Writing a Project Charter

Writing a Project Charter can be time-consuming, particularly if not done properly, thus, here’s a couple of tips to help you steer your project towards success from its very beginning:

  • Keep it brief: trust me, the more pages a document contains, the less chance it will get read. Try to keep your Project Charter simple and brief. After all, it should capture key, high-level information!
  • Be explicit: no one cares or is enthusiastic about a vague summary of a project. Get to the point as early as possible and make it explicit.
  • Build it with your sponsor: while theory advises that the Charter should be handed-over by the project sponsor to the project manager, in reality it is often the project manager to writes the Project Charter with the support of the Sponsor. Whatever the model, the involvement of the sponsor is fundamental.
  • Get it signed-off: until you get the Charter to be signed-off by your sponsor, the project is not formally authorized. No Charter, no project.
  • Share it: one of the main benefits of a Charter is that you can gain support from the project and ensure that there is a shared understanding of what the project is about. Be proud to share your Charter with your team and key stakeholders!

 

The Project Charter is the key document in the Initiation phase of a project and is the first opportunity that the project manager has to build the right foundations for the project. Grab the chance to cause a great first impression with a great Project Charter!

 

Sales-Pitch-Presentation-Deck.pptx

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This is a very basic sales pitch presentation deck that can be used for a small or medium sized company’s sales pitch. It includes the basic structure of a sales presentation, and leaves room for you to fill things in for your company.

The fundamentals of a sales presentation pitch deck are included in here:
– About Our Company
– What We Do (product/service overview)
– Product Options and High Level Pricing
– Product Demonstration (placeholder slide)
– Our Clients (noteworthy current customers that build your credibility)
– Details (smaller points that reinforce credibility, such as a Better Business Bureau rating, security of payment transactions, data encryption, years in business, etc)
– Next Steps (next steps of the buying process on the prospect’s side and your actions to support them. Filling out the table together at the end of the presentation helps build commitment on the prospect’s side).

Cost-of-Sale-Calculator.xlsx

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This spreadsheet provides two models for calculating the cost of sale for a revenue channel of a business.

The first model calculates costs through Contriubtion Margin.  It starts with an estimate of the lifetime value of a customer.  Next, Cost of Goods Sold and Marketing Acquisition Cost are subtracted out.  Then, the Sales Cost and Account Management costs are subtracted out.  Each of these cells reference other tabs itemizing costs such as salary, commission, benefits, software licenses, office space cost, etc. 

The sales cost is estimated by taking all of these costs and multiplying them across the number of sales people, then dividing it by the number of deals they close in a given month. This provides the cost per deal.

The account management cost (or client services cost) is calculated by taking the similar costs and breaking it down to an hourly rate for the account manager.  This is multiplied by the number of hours the account manager spends on a given account throughout the average life of an account to provide a cost per account.

The net of this model provides amount that is contributed back to the business (contribution margin) from this particular revenue channel.

The other model provides net margin per deal.  It also starts with the average lifetime value of the account and subtracts out COGS and marketing acquisition cost.  Then, instead of subtracting itemized sales and account management costs, it subtracts out the company Operating Expense (OpEx), as a percent of revenue.  Using this model, it is subtracting out operating costs associated with the entire company instead of just the revenue channel generating the revenue. The result is net profit per new account signed expressed in both dollars and as a percent of revenue.

One-Page-Project-Charter.pptx

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This one page project charter is built in Powerpoint.  Project charters are typically very lengthy documents describing the background of the project, different options considered, detailed scope statements, etc.  The One Page Project Charter is meant to be a summary of the most important components of the charter in a single page.  For large projects, it is used in addition to a full project charter.  For small projects, it’s used in place of it.

The template includes sections to document:

  • Project Name
  • Project Description
  • Target Date
  • Costs
  • Gains
  • Project Team
  • Key Milestones

The One Page project Charter is also useful for communicating with an executive audience that is not interested in all of the minute details

PERT-Project-Plan-Template-with-Expected-Time-Calculation.xlsx

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This Project Plan Template has a built in calculation for Expected Time using the Program Evaluation and Review Technique, or PERT.  

A full PERT Project Plan template would include additional components such as the critical path definition, a Gantt Chart, etc.  Other tools, such as Microsoft Project, are preferred over Excel for that type of work.  This PERT template is intended to incorporate the Expected Time calculation from the PERT Project Management method.

Expected Time is calculated based on three different estimates of time for a single task of work.  The first estimate is the Optimistic Time, or the minimum amount of time to complete the task.  It assumes everything proceeds better than is normally expected.  The next estimate is the Pessimistic Time.  This is the maximum amount of time required to complete the task and assumes that many things go wrong.  The final estimate is the Most Likely Time. This is the best estimate of time to complete the task and assumes that everything proceeds as normal.

The Expected Time is then calculated by multiplying the Most Likely Time by four, then adding the Pessimistic Time and the Optimistic Time and dividing the entire sum by six.  This takes into account all three estimates provided, but weights the Most Likely Time the heaviest.