The Completion Gap

The Completion Gap

It has been a busy summer for fixing and upgrading our home. Charlie, our son, commented that there always seems to be someone doing something to our place. We have received advice from a designer, had stone walkways put in by a mason, and planting done by a landscaper.

I noticed that most of these experts quote on jobs based on an initial assessment, complete the work they have been commissioned to do, and then leave. The missing link is that most of them don’t review the completed work with their client. This is an important step that has multiple benefits:

– Confirms that nothing has been missed
– Reinforces the quality of the work including sharing difficulties that were overcome
– Educates the client on how to maintain the work so that the quality does not degrade
– Provides the opportunity to receive thanks and to get a referral

As our landscaper rang our doorbell to say the job was finished and that he was going to leave, I asked for a tour of the work before he went. As he showed me the plantings, he also gave me tips on how to keep the gardens looking great – things I was not aware of. The ten minute tour gave me a chance to ask questions, to thank him for a job well done, and give him and his team cold drinks for the road.

This ‘completion gap’ happens all the time with change projects. Once the project plan is completed (or sometimes before then), and no implementation disasters have occurred, the team quickly leaves. Important steps such as outcome clarification (nothing has been missed), lessons learned (difficulties that were overcome), post launch support (maintenance so that the quality does not degrade), and formal recognition of the team ( thank yous, cold drinks for the road, and personal referrals) are missed. Could it be that the next project becomes the priority over the one that is winding down or is it that people don’t know any better?

I am writing about these steps now. It is essential to get them right. You have to finish the job to do it well.



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