Why Checklists Aren’t Enough For a Good Closeout

By MySmartPlans In blog No comments

Properly closing out your construction project is an essential part of the job. Yet for one reason or another it’s an area that project managers seem to let slide, or at the very least it’s a step they don’t take as seriously as they should.

It’s a startling fact that only 2.5% of companies complete all of their projects successfully, which can be telling to the extent that closeout reports are often mishandled.

The checklist is a standard component of the closeout report. It’s an invaluable tool ensuring that all tasks have been completed, all documentation accounted for, and that the processes and scope of the project have been fully reconciled.

However, there’s much more to the process than simply crossing items off a list. While closeout checklists are an integral part of the process, they can’t replace avenues such as having adequate software and conducting a thorough project review.

Prime Yourself For Success With The Proper Tools

Successful project management relies on having the proper software tools in place to help the process go smoothly. 63% of project managers rely on spreadsheets as the main source of control documentation which, while useful, doesn’t always give a sense of the entire picture.

Including a checklist with the closeout memo may be adequate in some cases. However, when a situation such as an audit arises years down the road, it’s helpful to have a broader capability to access all of your archived project information.

For example, when it comes to documentation organization and archiving, spreadsheets can be unnecessarily cumbersome and limited in their ability to track the necessary scope. Software such as MySmartPlans offers complete documentation management solutions for your construction project, enabling you to complete your closeout reports much more effectively.

Such tools give you much finer control over the process of handling and compiling information vital to the closeout process in a way that relying on checklists can’t match.

But whatever project management software avenue you choose, it’s essential that you have a tool that can help you manage the workflow and ensure that all of your documentation is properly indexed and archived to avoid problems later on.

Ensure You Conduct A Project Review

While a checklist is a normal part of the project closeout process, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Conducting a thorough project review at completion will go a long way toward ensuring valuable items aren’t missed.

Reviews are essential best practices at the completion of every project, yet they are frequently overlooked due to time constraints or a rush to get started on a new job.

And it doesn’t have to be a lengthy process, either. But taking the time to conduct a thorough project review can pay dividends in the future when it comes to successfully executing future projects.

The purpose of the project review is to identify where things went wrong and provide an opportunity for the primary stakeholders to understand and learn from these mistakes. Ideally, the focus of the review would be:

  • To identify processes that fell short of targets and strategize ways to revise them so as to be more effective in the future
  • To identify areas that went well and apply that success to other project aspects
  • To make a detailed listing of all problem areas and compile an actionable plan to resolve them

By going through the project review process, you’ll gain key insight at closeout that will help your next project be more successful. It’s a vital step that you should ensure is undertaken at the close of every job.

While project closeout checklists are an important part of the closeout process, they don’t provide a big-picture view. Relying solely on a checklist to ensure that all steps have been taken and all deliverables met can lead to vital data being missed.

Indeed, the truly successful closeout process will incorporate a through post-project review in addition to taking advantage of project management software that assists in indexing and archiving documentation. Contact MySmartPlans to learn how your construction project closeouts can be made easier and more efficient.

With these extra steps, you’ll be ahead of the game at the conclusion of your project and will be in a much stronger position to start the next one.