Group of Eight Australia
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Module 8: Project Closeout

1.4 Project management & project closeout support

Universities generally have a range of established offices and personnel to advise and assist researchers with meeting both external and internal project closeout requirements, and they have policies for dealing with staff, IP, research conduct and so on. This advice is typically available from a university’s research branch, commercialization unit and/or senior professional staff in the faculties. The guidelines and policies used in this respect vary in detail from university to university, but are based on common principles and practices, deriving from Federal and State legislation or from agreements between governments, granting agencies and research institutions.

Researchers on a leadership career trajectory should proactively seek to familiarise themselves early in their careers with the various rules, policies and resources related to project closeout in particular, and to project management more broadly.  Project closeout brings together a range of concepts, skills and particular institutional knowledge, and an effective understanding of it is only acquired over time and with experience of a range of different projects. Researchers are therefore well advised to become practised in this area before taking on leadership positions.

Heads of departments and chief investigators have an important role in the coaching and mentoring of project staff in these matters, as building internal capability benefits everyone. At the same time while universities have a range of personnel to assist with aspects of project closeout, there are not always programs available that bring all the requisite skills and understandings together in one place. Researchers may therefore consider whether it is useful to undertake third-party professional development in project management.  

Optional Activity

Reviewing Closeout Checklists

Download the Project Closeout Checklists document. This document contains four tables:

Table 1    - a generic closeout procedural checklist
Table 2    - a project closeout template
Table 3    - a financial closeout template
Table 4    - a blank closeout procedural checklist, which you can fill in to suit the particular needs of your university / faculty / unit.

It will be useful for you to have these tables close at hand as you work through the rest of this module.

Look through Table 1. For each item on the checklist do you know (a) where in your university to locate the relevant policies, procedures, guidelines, proformas etc., and/or (b) what unit/person to contact to seek advice and support re the action you are required to take? Write down your answers in brief note form. Also note those items for which you cannot locate documents or assistance.

Now look through Table 2. One of the main take-home lessons from this module is that successful closeout depends on good forward planning and effective management from the outset, and throughout the life of a project. For each item in this table, then, identify – briefly, with a few succinct dot points - the prior planning / management / reporting activities that would support successful closeout.

You may wish to bring these notes along to the workshop, as they may value add to the discussion.

(Note that on the final subtopic page of each topic, the Next > link in the navigation bar below returns you to the first page for this topic, so you can review the topic as a whole and complete any activities listed there before moving on to the next topic via the Organiser page.)

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