Projects are hard work – for the whole organization. Total successes are genuinely rare. Even partial successes are worth celebrating – and learning from.
As with each preceding step to project success, the aegis for the celebration should be the CEO. The project sponsor’s superior, if not the CEO, should consider making the introduction to the event. Recognition of the project’s business objectives should be re-iterated and, if possible, quantified – savings, strategic advantage, stakeholder satisfaction, industry leadership.
Full or only partial success, there should be lessons learned, or to be learned. That too is worth admitting and celebrating. Blame has no role in learning or the celebration.
Everybody involved in the project should be included in the celebration – internal resources, vendors, consultants. Consider inviting key customers who will be beneficiaries. Remember, projects are inevitably partnerships. Strengthen them by sharing the thanks/praise.
Inevitably, there will have been several people who went above and beyond to ensure the success. Be generous in identifying them. They don’t all have to have the same accolade (long hours, innovation, persuasiveness, problem solving, patience/flexibility (for vendor or customers) or attention to detail).
If there are other projects in process it might be worth bringing in key members as a continuing motivation for their own efforts and as an incentive to participate in the lessons learned process.
When the corporate celebration is over, don’t forget a private celebration for your own success.