Why is Project Closure Important?

Projects that are not closed cause problems.

  • Is it easy to start a new project? Yes it is!
  • Is it easy to close the old ones? Not so easy.

So if we continually add to the number of projects in the organisation, then we will run out of resources. It is vital that the project manager closes projects. Project closure should trigger payments, and will release resources to work on new projects. Keeping stakeholders informed is important as the work winds-down. Project Closure can be the start of the business receiving benefits from the project.

Project Closure Considerations

Consider the following issues:

The Project Plan: When you started the project you may have created a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) or schedule. You added loads of detail about what needs to be done on the project, but tasks that are required to close and finish the project may have been sparse. Take some time and plan the end of the project. Review the task list for the closing of the project phase.

The People in the Project Team: May be desperate to leave to join a new project (especially if the project wasn’t perfect!). This leaves you without the required resources. Managing the closure phase is vital. Alternatively people may be inventing work to stay on the project. They may be sad that the project is ending. Take time to talk to team members about their aspirations and the remaining project tasks.

The Client: May want changes and additions that are ‘out of scope’. Making sure that the project is closed with a firm plan will make it clear that ‘extras’ will not be free.

The Management: Will want the resources for the next project. Make sure that you have the evidence that your project isn’t quite finished yet, and hold onto the required resources until their work is completed.

Project Closure Steps

So here are the steps to close a project properly.

  • Review the original project aims and objectives
  • Plan the end of the project in as much detail as is required
  • Inform management about the project end date and release of resources
  • Talk to the team members about where they want to go for their next project
  • Arrange the Post-Project Review/ Project Audit date
  • Send out ‘Thank-You’ letters to the disappearing team members
  • Hold the Project Review

The Project Review is the subject of another blog.

Project Closure Checklist

Here is a generic list of things to check towards the end of a project. There may be more – you need to think about your own projects:

Are all task deliverables achieved?Is all documentation complete?Are there any remaining defects?
Have all invoices been issued/paid?Is customer handover complete?Are all contractual obligations fulfilled?
All project objectives achieved?Any remaining liabilities arising from the project?Project management process requirements completed?
All quality process requirements completed?Any claims resolved?Customer happy?
Press release issued?Steps taken to secure possible future business or other opportunity?Any remaining remedial work?
Project formally handed over to and accepted by user?Sub-contract invoices received and paid?All customer invoices issued and paid?
All relevant forms completed?Final versions of drawings etc. prepared and signed off?All filing/archiving completed?
Software backed-up and archived?Final project cost calculated and agreed?Post-project audit completed?
Post-project audit actions completed?Project office disbanded?Project staff reallocated to other work?
Contract staff reallocated or released?Equipment/machinery disposed of/returned to stores?Post-project celebratory event organised?
All project stakeholders notified of completion?Any known potential problems that may occur in the future?Spare parts/components provided as necessary?
All necessary training completed?All final instruction material received and approved by user?Patent applications identified and/or submitted?
Letters of thanks/bonuses issued?Any formal complaints or similar pending, or in progress?Any disciplinary actions pending or in progress?

Project Closure Video

I have a video clip of my lectures on project closure:

The next step if the project really is closed is to hold the Project Review.

Summary

The benefits of a proper project closure are that the stakeholders are fully informed, and the project is closed in a managed fashion. For  a higher level view from APM’s on project closure – follow this link.

The death of a project is a time to mourn, a time to reflect, and a time to then move on to new projects.


Posted On: 25th November 2019

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