Finish What you Start – The Importance of Finishing Strong

Hopefully in your project teams, you are in a position to be with the project from cradle to grave. In an even more ideal world, you are only working on that one major project. It is truly your baby and while phases come and go along with team members, you bring continuity of details and vision.

For the purposes of this blog, let’s just assume that’s not your reality…

Everything starts with the best laid Plan. Your PMP is the blueprint to project success and there is merit in this project planning. However if you are managing your projects efficiently, your team members are not only very clear on their roles and responsibilities, but you have empowered them to pick up the slack and make the connections necessary for success. In short, your role may have a tendency to dwindle as a project moves into action. You are there to steer the ship and remind everyone of their responsibilities. As the project progresses and those most critical deadlines are met, team members are lost to other projects as the finish line draws near. Little can derail your success now and all aboard begin to look for their next gig. Yourself included.

Therein lies the problem.

As the PM, your roles and responsibilities peak back up near project completion and closeout. Besides all of the desires of truly excellent professionals to see projects through to completion remain mindful of all details, success is often judged on some of these final details in the eye of the customer. Whether the awards are being bestowed or the damage control is in full tilt, the PM needs to pick up the slack in the final stages of every project to finish strong and solidify that impression of success.

This is also where the true learning and wisdom can be gained. So often we are tempted to just “get it done” and move on to the next issue. By staying the course and remaining engaged until the end, you have an opportunity to harvest the lessons of your efforts and pass them along to future teams. You worked so hard for so long, by sticking around until the end, you will get so much more out of your blood sweat and tears and so will your future teams.

I am dealing with this myself and it is a lesson I am learning right along with the rest of the technical takeaways from my project. First one in, last one out…that goes for the truly great PM as well as the best player on your favorite sports star.


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