Are you ever really done with a project? Sometimes the answer is yes, but more often than not, it is No! Once projects are completed, then they become a living part of the company and have to be continually monitored and kept up to make sure it is a contributing part of the company. If you are a project manager for a construction company, most times once the project is built it is considered complete and you move onto the next project; but then that project becomes an office, hotel or restaurant that is part of a larger organization and needs to be properly run to become a good investment for whatever company planned the investment.
I was recently part of a project management team for a new hotel for my company. While I was not heavy on the construction side of the project, I was involved in making sure much of the equipment and supplies were in the building by day one so that the hotel could start serving guests. Now, just because the hotel is open does not mean that I will step back and wipe my hands of that hotel, it just means that my role has now changed and I am part of the operational support of that hotel as I am with all of the other properties under the brand I work for. My role no longer is focusing on the initial orders of the property or determining what is in the boxes that arrive, but now I help to ensure that they are using the right suppliers, products and getting the best pricing available under our other national programs.
So to answer the question above, I believe that the answer is a bit mixed. Yes, a project can end, but if you take ownership of a project and see it through to its’ “completion” you will never truly be done with the project because you will continue to monitor it and make sure it is successful. So, yes you may be done with one aspect of the project but never done with the project altogether. True project managers are a special breed of professional and having to separate themselves from one project so that they can focus on the next, especially in the hospitality industry when the properties are constantly running from day one!
When was the last time that you were part of a project team? Did your investment in the project end the day the project was up and running or did you continue to watch the project grow, fail, etc…? If the project failed, do you think the failure could have been prevented if the project management team stayed invested beyond completion?