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Module 8: Project Closeout

3.4 The structure of a post-project review report

A post-project review report typically contains five sections:

  • The classification section – would typically include information on project type, size, number of staff, technology level, and whether the project is strategic or support?
  • The analysis section – includes succinct, factual project review statements of the project such as, project mission and objectives, procedures and systems used, and organisational resources used
  • The lessons learned section – serves as a reminder of mistakes easily avoided and actions easily taken to ensure success for future projects
  • The recommendation section – documents major corrective actions that should take place as well as positive successes that should be continued
  • Appendices – supporting information to the previous sections

Recommendations should be formulated carefully, and with an eye to their capacity to be taken up and implemented. Recommendations need to be precise, succinct and practical. They also need to be constrained to an optimal number. Recommendations that are too vague, too overwhelming or too costly are likely to be dismissed out of hand. Similarly, the worth of advancing recommendations which serve no other purpose than to make ideological, political or motherhood statements needs to be seriously considered. Recommendations are fundamentally pragmatic; they are about what should (or should not) be done, by whom, when, and how.

At the same time, it is important to bear in mind that not all recommendations are created equal. Recommendations should be grouped into appropriate categories and ranked for importance, with the primary emphasis being on those recommendations that derive from factors that had a high impact, positive or negative, on the project.

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