Training Top 125 Best Practice: Project Closeout/Finish Strong at Gilbane

After implementing a redeveloped Project Closeout training course and the new Finish Strong program, Gilbane’s client survey results for the key question, “How satisfied are you with Gilbane’s performance?” showed an increase of 17 percent in the number of surveys received that exceed client expectations.

Real estate and construction firm Gilbane’s existing Project Closeout instructor-led course was targeted for revision as part of Gilbane University’s continuous improvement process. GU reached out to Gilbane’s business unit quality managers and business unit managers of engineering for input as part of a needs analysis to review the benefits and effectiveness of the existing course to the company’s closeout efforts. Project Closeout was a tactical course intended to increase participants’ knowledge of company standard closeout procedures. This was perceived as the major cause of previous closeout failures. However, during the needs analysis, additional root causes of closeout failures were identified. It was concluded that closeout failures also could be attributed to failed communication, lack of partnering, and lack of early planning.

The results of this needs analysis altered the purpose and direction of this training effort, and a new instructor-led course, Finish Strong: Planning and Executing Strategies for Project Success, was developed to address and bridge the identified performance gaps of communication, partnering skills, and construction management planning and problem-solving skills.

Program Details

Finish Strong: Planning and Executing Strategies for Project Success is an interactive instructor-led course in which participants hone partnering skills and strategize solutions to construction management challenges such as change management, punch list, and phased turnover. Participants review case studies of failed closeout efforts and brainstorm better ways to staff, manage, and turn over projects, and conduct role-plays to practice negotiating tough issues, all while focusing on client satisfaction.

In addition, the original Project Closeout course was redeveloped into four self-paced online courses centered on tactical skills employees need to implement Gilbane standard closeout procedures. The delivery method was selected to provide just-in-time access to this information, which can be revisited at the point of need.


To date, the course has been completed by more than 1,200 employees.

A Level 3 analysis was conducted to look at the business impact since the training was implemented. The analysis included a participant follow-up survey and comparison of Gilbane’s client survey scores in categories related to Project Closeout and Finish Strong strategies.

The follow-up survey of participants indicated positive findings in each focus area of the course attributable to improving communication, partnering, and planning skills:

  • 98 percent of respondents believed they have manager’s support to implement Finish Strong strategies.
  • 94 percent are reading their Gilbane/Owner contract.
  • 93 percent fully understand client expectations for end-of-project milestones.
  • 69 percent are proactively taking steps to develop strategies to address project-specific challenges.

Analysis of client survey data shows that since implementation of Finish Strong and redevelopment of the four self-paced online courses, seven related categories show improvement:

  • Punch List and Job Completion
  • Startup/Commissioning Coordination
  • Construction Planning and Scheduling
  • Project Team Effectiveness
  • Responsiveness to Schedule
  • Responsiveness to Budget
  • Keeping You Informed

Gilbane’s client survey results for the key question, “How satisfied are you with Gilbane’s performance?” show a distinct improvement since implementation of the training, with an increase of 17 percent in the number of surveys received that exceed client expectations.

Training Top 125

2017 Training Top 125 winners demonstrated a strong focus on effective training and employee development tied to corporate strategic goals and business impact.

Digital Issue

Click above for Training Magazine's
current digital issue

Training Live + Online Certificate Programs

Now You Can Have Live Online Access to Training magazine's Most Popular Certificate Programs! Click here for more information.

Emerging Training Leaders


Spectacular. Impressive. Dazzling.

Spring is—finally—in the air.

By Lorri Freifeld

ISA Directory