Published here October 2011

PART 1 | Work Packages 1 & 2 | Work Packages 3 to 5
Final Phase | Post-project Review | Study Questions

Post-project Review

Risk events

Almost all of the risks and issues identified in our original Business Case (see Part 1 of this Case Study) either did not arise or were mitigated as planned. For example, we ran out of time trying to dispose of belongings that we thought had value. We decided to cut off this activity and leave the remainder for disposal by our professional home stager. This proved an advantage because it made some packages of articles more attractive and hence were taken away at no cost.

In another case, as the planning got more detailed, we saw opportunities to modify some items of furniture so that we could squeeze in more than originally contemplated. Such work was undertaken at the expense of our final month contingency time. Other examples have already been described in the foregoing text.

But all projects involve a large number of decisions, some of which result from, or lead to, significant surprises[16] and this project was no exception. The selection of what to take versus what to reject relating to a large number of personal items, especially when they are shrouded in memories, gives rise to a lot of very personal stress. This is further amplified when it has to be done under pressure of a deadline. This stress had a significant and unexpected affect on our health.

As described earlier, we tried to mitigate this by holding on to our house and many of its contents until after our move to SILC. This way, as we better understood our needs in our new home, we would still have the opportunity to pick up some items we had previously rejected, while returning others not needed for final disposal. Only a very few items we found necessary to juggle in this way.

Lessons learned

For a case study, this "pack-up-and-go" project may represent a lot of hard work and, in some cases, personal anguish; it is, nevertheless, reasonably straight forward. However, it is clear to us that without applying many of the basic tenets of project management, there are many places that it could have fallen off the rails.

For example, after the move to SILC, we found that we had not considered the difficulty of finding medical treatment facilities closer at hand to our new location. Nor did we expect to suffer a mail strike just as we were trying to advise all and sundry of our change of address and telephone number, itself a significant task.

We have also learned that adapting to a new and very different living environment is not accomplished overnight. Indeed, as we described earlier in connection with KSI #1, it could be as long as six months. For this reason it is still too early to make a final qualitative assessment of success, in terms of satisfaction.

But again, as with most projects, there are typically over arching circumstances that influence the perception of the outcome. In this case, what other choice did we really have? Delaying the move would only have increased the anguish. Getting old is an undesirable but unavoidable fact of life and it is better to accept the fact and get on with it.

R. Max Wideman

Final Phase  Final Phase

16. That is, "unexpected risk events".
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