Project Closure


Carry out Post Implementation Review (PIR)

Review the project and understand the good and bad points. Take action to ensure future projects learn from this experience.
  • Project Team views
  • User experiences
  • Project documentation
    1. Define the scope of the review.
    2. Determine the best method(s) to gather the information.
    3. Undertake the review.
    4. Produce a report.
    5. Present the report and agree actions.
    6. Allocate actions from the report.
  • PIR Report
  • Actions to be completed

It is best to have someone who has not been associated with the project do the review. It should preferably be someone from outside the company who has no bias in terms of favouring or being critical of particular people. If it is done by someone internally, the Project Management Office or Program Management Office is the usual department to carry out the work.

It should be made clear that the objective is not to apportion blame. The focus is on "lessons learned". What can we learn from our experience to make this process better next time. It should also be made clear how the recommendations might be implemented. If people feel their experiences will be documented and forgotten they are less likely to be frank and cooperative.

The PIR is different to benefit realisation. Benefit realisation is to ensure the stated benefits were delivered. A PIR is to understand what worked and didn't work in the project. If you wait for benefits to be realised and incorporate that exercise in the PIR, you may have to wait several months. People will have dispersed and important information forgotten. After the project has closed, there should be an exercise by a particular area of the company to review benefit realisation. This may be an Internal Audit function, or may be undertaken by a PMO and reported to the Executive Team.

There may need to be a draft report for review prior to the final report. Sensitive information may need to be passed on verbally and not mentioned in the report. For example, if it is clear that the Project Manager was totally incompetent, that may be handled by IT Management separately. Documenting the fact exposes the organisation to potential litigation if the person is dismissed based on the report.

Another reason to have a draft is to challenge any reported views. For example if someone expresses a view, there may be a quite valid and contrary view that was not forthcoming. This is not an attempt to white wash the report. It is to get a balanced view. When carrying out interviews, if someone mentions something new in the last interview, you may not have the opportunity to go back and ask the same question of earlier interviewees.

Before the process starts, the Sponsor should decide how widely the report is to be circulated. It is a question often asked by people being interviewed and is best addressed at the start of the process. One option is to produce a full report for the Sponsor and a summary report for everyone else.

PIR Report Template for a PIR Report
Project Team Survey Spreadsheet Template for a spreadsheet that can be used to survey project participants
Business Satisfaction Survey Template that can be used to survey Business Users
PIR User Guide Instructions and hints to help you set up your PIR
Typical PIR Questions A checklist of questions that might be applicable to your PIR

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