You’ve spent the last few weeks and months working on a grueling project at the office.
You are tired, weary, and exhausted.
The good news is that the last report has been turned in, the last presentation has been made, and that giant sales event is finally over.
That’s right: the project is officially finished!
You honestly thought the day would never come, and in some ways, you almost can’t believe your good fortune.
You want to start a new project, any project, for that matter, as long as it isn’t *that* dreaded project…
Now, as tempting as it may be to simply jump on the next assignment, you should take a moment or two to regroup.
In this post, I offer a few tips to help you successfully close the doors on a completed project.
Taking the time to wrap-up these items will not only help you be more organized at the office, but will hopefully save you from (or at least drastically reduce) bothersome problems or issues arising from your recently completed project.
Archive and save project materials.
Now that your project is finished, what are you going to do with all those files, drawings, books, sketches, reports, binders, and presentation decks? Leave ‘em sitting around your desk? Of course not! It’s important to carefully store your work.
Save and archive final versions of your work, be it hardcopy or digital format, and make sure to save these versions in a safe place on your computer or in your workstation. Archive any supportive emails, texts, or other documents on your computer or phone, and be sure to shred, recycle or delete any sensitive paper materials.
If you’ve borrowed any tools, materials, or files, be sure to return items as necessary and place items back in their proper storage locations.You should also clear your desk of any remnants of the project. This ensures you can begin work on your next project with a true clean slate.
Wrap up finances.
When it comes to money and any finances related to your project, the sooner you take care of things, the better! You don’t want to find yourself several thousand dollars short in three months’ time, or find out that you never paid out that 20K invoice to a vendor (ouch). Besides, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to recall minute details and sort through the complexities of your finances. And who wants to spend time doing that?
Take some time now to settle all financial obligations from your project. Do you have several unpaid invoices hanging about that need to be paid? Do you need to check on the status of a payment? Do you need to balance out and reconcile your accounts in-house and bank accounts?
Communicate with others.
Communication is key whenever you’re working on project. It’s also important when you’ve actually finished a project. You want to make sure everyone involved in the project, from colleagues, to coworkers, to contributors, to clients, and vendors, understands that the project has been successfully completed.
You may find it helpful to hold a final meeting or conference call with your group to bring everyone up to speed. In some cases, you may only need to send a brief “Project Completed” or “Thank You” email to the group to let them know the work has been completed satisfactorily and to thank them for their time.
No matter which method you choose, make sure you get in touch with people! This way, there will be no doubt whatsoever as to where the project stands — everyone will know it is finished.
Celebrate your hard work.
You’ve worked long and hard on your project and you deserve to celebrate your accomplishments. You don’t have to throw a giant party in honor of your achievements (you can certainly do so, if you like), but be sure to do something nice for yourself. You could treat yourself to lunch at your favorite restaurant, buy a new book, go to the movies, head to the spa, and so on.
While you’re at it, you should also take the time to update your professional achievement files. Can you add this work project to your resume, C.V., portfolio, website, or use it as a case study? Write down your accomplishments while the project is still fresh in your mind.
Now to you…what project or projects have you recently completed? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!
A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2013.