After your thing of beauty is unleashed upon the world, rather than just move straight on to the next project it is time to celebrate it. Now is a good time to sit down with the whole team and have a debrief session to talk about what worked well and what could work better.
The size and complexity of a project as well as the source of funding determine the detail and emphasis of a project evaluation.
How do you close a project?
Get a fresh perspective
Often when you are fully immersed in a project and battling deadlines left and right, there isn’t much time to reflect and there is a process of decompression. Once the project is delivered then go for a walk in the park or on the beach, or sit down and have an informal chat with the team to get a fresher perspective on how the project went overall, and free up your mind for the next one.
As part of your review, look at what you have achieved and try to define it in more detail. Are there processes or methodologies you can use on another project or share with others online? If you have been gathering images along the way, now is the time to add them to your site or put them out there on social media to let other people know what you have done on the project. It can also be a good time to grab a brief testimonial about the projects.
Objectives would have been defined early on – how did you meet all the key ones? There are a lot of points along a project timeline where you have to make choices, did you make the correct one and walk a path that got you to your destination on time and in style, and if not consider what you would do differently next time.
This is a good chance to reflect on your project management process, the way of communicating with each other, tracking progress and monitoring risks, managing budgets. Would you use the same methodology or would you change anything?
Record key learnings
It is very easy to look back at something a year on and go ‘how did we do that?’. A brief documentation highlighting any processes, software, hardware, how the budget matched up to the ambition, and reasons why you made key decisions can give you a great head start on a similar project.
It can be very easy to just move on to the next set of deadlines, but it is important to celebrate your wins, gather your team on a regular basis and at the end of the project to pop open a bottle of something bubbly!
Contents of an evaluation report
If your creative project is sponsored by an organisation then it is fairly standard practice to write up an evaluation report, it can be a very valuable tool for appraising the project in detail within a given framework.
Key considerations are:
- Did it meet all the objectives set out early on in the project
- What benefits came out of the project for the organisation?
- Did it have a wider impact on a group of people or the general public?
- How could it be done differently or better next time?
You can find more detailed outlines of how to write the report and what should be included.
A parting shot
Finally, clear the decks and ‘reset’. File away the relevant papers, tidy up the relevant digital folders, and put things in order so when you come back to it in a year it isn’t like digging for buried treasure. If you have a physical memento from the project, now is the time to place it proudly on your wall.