In many ways, a project is like a relationship. It starts out shiny and new
and exciting, a lot of time and effort is invested in it, and when it has run
its course, it leaves no one indifferent. Just like relationships, there are 5
main ways to deal with the end of a project.
Say it ain't so!
You liked that project so much, you don't want it to finish. Or, uncertainty
about the next project makes you want to stretch out this one. In any case, you
start looking to unfinished business, insignificant details to keep working on
Get over it. There are many more exciting projects in your future, and you
can only sart them by letting go of this one.
Thank God it's over
Not all projects go well, even with the best team and the best intentions.
When a hellish project comes to a close, the first thing most of us want to do
is forger about it. Never speak of it again. If we could erase any record of
the project ever existing, we would.
Get it over with. The more you stress about that project after it's done,
the more harm you are doing yourself. Just give it a good night's sleep (or
two) and move on to the next thing. It can't be as bad as the last project,
Sometimes, when a project is over, we want to go back in time and take a
look at what was done. Basically, rehash the project's fond memories.
Learn from it. There's no point taking that trip down memory lane if you're
not going to bring back a souvenir.
Beyond the debriefing, it may be interesting to understand how the
project went. What worked well? What didn't work in the project? Was everybody
on the team working as well as they could or should? Were resources adequate?
Was something missing?
Make it brief. No need to remember how there were too few donuts at the third
meeting. Focus on areas that could benefit and can realistically be improved.
Back to school
In the end, none of the above is worth it if you don't learn from the
project. How can you improve what didn't work in the project, and duplicate
what did work well? Experience is worthless if it is not leveraged to improve
Learn your lesson and put in practice. Don't try to apply too many changes
at once. Focus on one or two things to improve.
Get back in the saddle
Just like relationships, the best way to move on… is to move on! Each new
project is an opportunity to be better than the previous one.