by Bill Flury

Obituary – Project AtoZ

The innovative and productive and life of Project AtoZ came to a peaceful end today accompanied by happy team members and satisfied clients.

The Final Tasks

Projects are like people. They are born, they live, and they die. Then, the Executor takes care of all the rest. You’re the lucky one. You have been chosen to be the AtoZ Project Executor. All those great people you worked with on that wonderful project will be counting on you to preserve the legacy and reputation of the project.

It’s good to be tagged for such an important job, but after years of working on the project, it’s sad to see it come to an end. Being an executor can a daunting task depending on the size and complexity of the project. Just like executors for humans, you get to handle those project end-of-life things that need to be done to collect and arrange for the proper disposal of the project’s body of work.

If you are a surviving team member, the responsibilities you have over the death paperwork will be much more extensive than if you were a company archivist boxing up records. To be fair to all your fellow team members, you must ensure that the project history accurately reflects the full life and good works and lessons learned by those who worked on the project team. When you are done, with all the project assets distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries, the project can rest in peace.

Executor’s To Do List

Before you start, get a notebook and put this checklist on the first page. Then, keep track as you proceed. It is important to be sure that you have completed all the steps.

The Wake: First, hold a wake. Gather all the project team members and friends of the project. Collect their stories about the deceased project. Keep a record and weave those stories into the final obituary,

The Death Certificate: Obtain a copy of the Completion Letter signed by your client stating that all obligations under the contract have been met. You may need this to close out some project accounts.

The Will: Check for project bequests, promises made by the project manager to others about the distribution of project physical [e.g., lab equipment, prototypes) or intellectual assets (e.g., Data collections, test results). Distribute or dispose of these assets in accordance with the wishes of the deceased project.

The Accounts: There are several types of accounts that you must close.

  • Credit Cards: Project related credit cards for internal and external accounts. These include project-specific credit or account authorization cards for team members.
  • Digital Accounts: If the project was active on social media, you’ll need to inform the specific networking sites of the change in status. You will need to close email accounts as well as any online banking.
  • Electronic Files: Eliminate all extraneous or duplicate electronic records.  Make sure that there is a record of the latest version of each deliverable — if not, make one.  Transfer remaining electronic archive storage. Finally, delete the project data from the active server.
  • Redirect Mail: Arrange for future mail to the project and the team members to be re-directed.

The Project Obituary: Preserve the legacy of the project by writing and publishing a full obituary for the project.  A template for the obituary follows.

 Full Obituary – Project AtoZ

Notification: The innovative and productive and life of Project AtoZ came to a peaceful end today accompanied by happy team members and satisfied clients.

Nature of the work: During its 24-month life, the Project AtoZ team developed five innovative applications to facilitate and coordinate the emergency response by police, fire, and rescue organizations.

Performance: The end came with all tasks successfully completed, on schedule, and within budget. Early delivery of some applications allowed them to be put in service at an earlier than the scheduled date.

Notable achievements: The result, now adopted by state and local government organizations have dramatically improved medical and other emergency response times,

Beneficiaries: All local communities that have received the applications have reported improved trauma victim outcomes and have saved lives.

Lessons learned: During the project, the team members noted the importance of detailed record-keeping and reported this as a Lesson Learned for future projects.

Awards: The project has received numerous awards for excellence from State and Local governments.

Survivors: For those interested in contacting the survivors, a list of project team members and a description of their contributions to the project results may be found in the project archive.

The Very Last Step: Close and archive your notebook and look for another project. Your record on the project and as the chosen Executor should make you an attractive hire.

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