Quick question: how many phases are there in a project? Theory states five: concept, planning, execution, performance monitoring, and closeout. In reality though, most projects consider just two: planning and execution. People regularly theorize about the value of “lessons learned” and “archiving” during closeout, but the truth is, this rarely gets done on real projects. I believe this is due to the minimal benefit associated with reusing lessons learned and historical as-built performance, and worse, capturing this in a meaningful way is challenging. Therefore, closeout has primarily been seen as a “check the box” type exercise if it’s even done at all.
Skipping or skimping on closeout eliminates our ability to recycle information to the concept and planning phases on new projects; we tend to then start from scratch every time. How often do you waste valuable time searching for and then trying to understand the context of a previous project?