Similar to a project, a program has its own life cycle from start to completion. It is born; it lives; and eventually, it dies. And when it dies, the joy of discovery and the excitement of team compositions are about to be history. Nevertheless, the closure process is never easy, as administrative dislocation is often an issue. A program faces termination either because its charter has been fulfilled or conditions arise that bring the program to an early close. In the former, the closure begins after a phase-gate review of the delivery of program benefits, where the product is delivered, accepted by the customer, and/or transited into an operation. In the latter, the program is stopped because it may be unsuccessful or has been superseded. VACATION TIME, ALMOST James Powell is more than ready to take a long vacation in Hawaii with his family. He just needs to finish his work, go back home, and catch the flight! This sounds simple, but the work still keeps James busy at his office even now, at 6:30 PM on Friday. James is a program manager, who has been managing a new product development program for six months, and now it is about time to cease it. Even though the program is almost completed, James still needs to prepare a checklist of what needs to be done during his program closure. He wishes it could be just a list of things to see in Hawaii. James knows that projects under the program expect to be closed before the program is terminated. And the program closure should capture important information such as lessons learned and customer sign-off. He also knows that the formal acceptance of the program should be achieved by reviewing the program scope and the closure documents of the program, and by reviewing the results of any verification of deliverables against the program requirements. All of this will help James learn about things that lead to success and/or failure for future programs in the company. 330 CASE STUDIES As he is going through the documents, James starts jotting down some notes: Assure all deliverables have been completed and the program completion criteria have been met. Obtain customer sign-off or an agreement that the program has finished and that no more work will be carried out. Review significant feedback from customers. Release the program resources to other programs. Analyze the program results including lessons learned, which address the following: Did the delivered product/solution meet the business requirements and objectives? What did we miss? What did we learn from this program, strategically and operationally? Was the customer satisfied? What did they like? What did Ă˘â‚¬â„˘ t they like? Was the program schedule met? Could schedule pull-in opportunities to be identified for future programs? Was the program completed within its budget forecast? Could cost reduction opportunities be identified for future programs? Were the risks identified and mitigated? Could it be used for future programs? What could have been done differently? Assure the lessons learned results have been shared in appropriate venues. Assure all required documents have been archived. Celebrate the program’s completion! James thinks his list is comprehensive enough. Now itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s time to go home. Discussion items 1. How would you change the list? 2. Who should be involved in the closure review? 3. To what degree should the postmortem be comprehensive? Why?
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