In most SEKE modules, you are working with a client organisation, and delivering some form of project output. You may have been delivering the results of your work at various stages during the project. However, once the project and module comes to a close, you will need to find a way to transfer the project over to the client. The client may want to use your work to show other stakeholders, evidence for future funding, or act on the recommendations.
Even when a client does not expect any further work or interaction after the project has been delivered, you still need to close down the project and bring it to an end.
This tool provides practical tips as to how you can best conduct the close down and handover process, and is comprised of:
- Presenting your final artefacts
- Showcasing your work
- Handing over or transferring your knowledge
- Reflecting with the client what went well, and what could be improved
- Next steps following the project end
Presenting your final artefacts
Clearly, the work you are producing will be subject-specific, but here is some guidance that will help you prepare well ahead of the end of the project.
This is a common method, e.g. in business subjects, you might be expected to do a formal presentation; in architecture, you might be expected to demonstrate a 2D or 3D model - in both cases this can be live or in a virtual setting.
- Invite your classmates, this will help you to learn from their questions and in turn, you can support them for their presentations.
- Talk to your tutor about which academics might be invited
- Read the detailed criteria about how you will be assessed
- Rehearse your presentation with fellow students - this is something you can do without relying on the tutor. You can record yourselves and playback, so you learn what needs to be improved upon.
- Will the session be recorded? If so, who will have access to the recording?
- Who is going to book the date, time and place?
- The presentations need to be visually exciting - keep text to a minimum, use plenty of images, and check that any graphics can be seen (especially at the back of the room).
- Introduce yourselves, if necessary, have name badges - your tutors will know you, but many in the audience will not
- Dress appropriately - it is likely photos will be taken throughout the presentation, keep in mind the pictures may be shared via social media.
Ensure you keep it professional! This is key - even if you have grown to feel casual with your team members or client, you need to maintain that professionalism until the project is complete.
This can take many forms:
- A live competition of presentations, involving other students or student teams, with the client present.
- Submission of work to be judged by a panel, with an awards event a week or two later.
- Check if the criteria for competition are the same as any formally marked assessments.
- Do all the team members want to enter the competition?
- Think about what you might learn from taking part, especially if it is live.
- If you are nominated, shortlisted or win, how can you use this to enhance your CV?
Showcasing your work at an event
You may be asked to showcase your work in a setting where clients, other students and staff may be invited. Usually, this is separate to the formally assessed presentation as part of the module.
The showcase may include a competition, or a number of students or teams may be asked to present a bit of their work, or say what they enjoyed about the module.
There might be a display of posters.
Keep any presentations short. You will have a diverse audience, and many of them may not be familiar with the details of your module or project.
An event is likely to be well publicised, so think of the opportunities for enhancing your skills, such as succinctly explaining your project to someone who has come to look at your poster.
Are you ready to share any posts live from the event? “I am having a great time at the abc awards!”, and add a picture.
Handing over or transferring your knowledge
Even if you have conducted some sort of final presentation, demonstration or performance, clients often want to have a formal handover or transfer of knowledge from you.
Ways to do this are:
- Emailing the client a copy of your presentation slides and final report. Copy in your tutor too.
- Giving the client access to any recordings of your presentation, demonstration or performance.
- Giving the client access to those parts of your shared drive, where you may have stored detailed survey results or any analysis that goes into more detail than you can present or put into a formal report.
- Don’t forget to connect with your client and your team on LinkedIn.
- Take time to celebrate!
Closing down the project documentation
At the end, you will be left with all sorts of information; in shared drives, your own laptop, and in emails. Check your university’s data retention policy, but in general, have a clear out, and don’t keep others locked into your shared drive forever.
Reflecting with the client - what went well, and what could be improved
A key skill to develop with any client is reflecting what went well, and what could be improved. This also helps you gain feedback beyond the “you’ve done a great job” type
Ways to do this are:
- Take time to informally discuss what went well and areas which could have been improved, note that this is not part of the formal assessment. Often a tutor will facilitate this. Be prepared when a client asks you what went well in the project? Most clients are keen to know what you think, and appreciate that your SEKE project is a learning project.
- Use a feedback sheet or online form (your tutor may have already arranged this). This will allow both the client and the student to give their feedback without having to do so in person as this may be an uncomfortable discussion for some. This allows honest feedback to flow in both directions, however it is less personal for both parties.
Some tips on how to do this reflection well, and involve everyone on the student team are:
- The team leader allows all the team to speak individually. It is not a good idea, when reflecting, for the client to hear only the team leader’s views. Each team member may well have had very different experiences of the project and all feedback is valuable.
- If online a tool such as Padlet or a whiteboard allows students to share reflections anonymously (check the settings), allow the client and tutor to join too if deemed as appropriate.
- Having a reflective coursework - the advantage of this is that it allows students to reflect in their own time, and all reflection is confidential to the tutor. The disadvantage is that there may be lots of reflections that the client may not get any indication of.
- Use the module’s Learning Outcomes as a framework for the reflection.
Reflecting without the client
All the above ideas can be used by you, individually or as a team. Even if all you do is make informal notes, this can help you to do better on your next modules (whether SEKE or not), and help you prepare for a job interview when you might be asked “think of a time in a team working on a project, when things didn't go as well as expected? What would you do differently next time you are in a similar situation?”
Project close down and handover of documents to the client is vital, this is your opportunity to present what you have done throughout the project and transfer anything necessary. Do this before the end of the project and while you are still in touch with the client. Take time to reflect with the client what went well and where improvements can be made which you can take forward for future projects.