.The final set of processes that ensures that all parts of the project are completed is called project closure. It has proper steps and processes that need to be completed to ensure all the deliverables are complete, all the contracts are accomplished, all the milestones are achieved, also all the stodgy work like, signs, approvals, paper works, payments etc.
Why is project closure important?
Project closure is important because it helps you ensure all the sign offs on deliverables, disbanding of teams, closing out contracts and archiving all the conversations for future references. It helps you transition the project smoothly from your end to the customer.
It helps you save from the mistakes you may have made in the past. Like forgetting to get a signature of the procurement manager on a service you procured. If ever the project is re-studied, there won’t be any attestation that the related procurement manager approved that purchase or not. Or if you forgot a small deliverable and handed over the rest of the project to the client. That missing deliverable won’t give the whole project the same accuracy.
Therefore, the project is ended through a complete process so such things don’t happen.
When can you deem a project successful?
In order to know that the project is successful, ask yourself these questions. If the answer to all is “YES” then congratulations, you have successfully completed your project and you can head up to that project end party.
- Were the goals and objectives met?
- Is the client happy about the final outcome?
- Is the management happy with the outcome?
- Was the project delivered on schedule and on budget?
- Was all that work worth the effort, time and cost?
|Implementation Report||Implementation Review|
|Closure Report||Project Closure Management Template|
Project Closure Management template:
The project closure management template has 7 steps. The following steps need to be completed for successfully closing a project and ensuring that the project is successfully completed:
Formally transfer the deliverables:
First of all, ensure all deliverables are complete, go through the project management plan and check the list of the deliverables and then formally transfer them to the client. Make sure everything is completed and handed off.
Confirm project completion:
Every stake holder of the project needs to sign off from the project in order to declare it complete with every deliverable transferred and every documentation submitted as per the contract. The contract also needs to be closed formally so the company cannot be demanded for any change or revisiting on their budget, once the project closes.
If the project is just deemed closed at our own end without proper process, the client can again ask for some changes or can be accused of something missing and that can go on the company’s budget. So, to avoid such situations, it is better to have a proper, documented closing from every stake holder as a proof that everything is complete and delivered.
Review all contracts and documentations:
Once the hand offs are completed and sign offs are received from the client, start closing the project from your end. Go through all documentations and procurement contracts, make sure everyone is paid off, get their sign offs as well to ensure the payments are made, then close all the internal contracts, make sure no outstanding invoice is left.
Formally release all the resources that were engaged in the project, whether they were contractors, suppliers, team members, material resources, or any other partners. Notify everyone that the project is officially over, ask for any obligations or outstanding payments from your side and formally sign them off, so they are free to work on other projects.
Conduct a post mortem:
A post mortem or a project review is the most important process in the closing of a project. This process defines all the successes, challenges and lessons learnt, and gives chances of more improvement in future projects. This is a valuable outcome.
We should begin the post mortem with a performance review which statistically documents all the project’s performance based on cost, time schedule and quality.
Always ask these questions:
- Did you go over the approved budget?
- Was the time of team members used wisely and was it worthwhile?
- Was the quality compromised anywhere in any part of the project?
Next, we should call a meeting of the project management team or conduct a survey to get a better overview on how the project went. If the project followed agile methodology, then the sprints analysis can paint a more comprehensive picture about the project performance.
With the performance review and feedback of the project management team, a lessons learnt document can be formulated. Post mortem is not a phase to find flaws and shift blame on any one, this process is purely for learning. Document your post mortem efficiently for help in future and for better opportunities.
Once all the documents are completed e.g., the closed contracts, the performance review, post mortem documentation, the scope outline, the cost, time schedule, challenges, etc. Index them in your company’s archives with a very clear overview of project performance and lessons learnt for improvement opportunities in future. Make sure to have these easily approachable so you can implement them on similar projects in future.
At the end don’t forget to celebrate. The successful completion of a project is a huge milestone for the team working on it. And the celebration is not just for ending the project, the celebration is to appreciate the hard work of the whole team, who have spent hundreds of hours making sure everything went as per plan, and their sheer hard work. It boosts their morale and gives them time to unwind from the stressful project management process.
Always remember a happy team will be ready to associate with you for future endeavors as well. So, build a great rapport based on the past experience and make a more strengthened unit in the future.
Types of Project Closure templates:
Project closure report template:
This one page report includes a project summary, roles, responsibilities, cost, deliverables, schedules, lessons learnt. It also includes the planned outcomes and final outcomes that indicates what parts of the project were more successful.
Project closure checklist template:
The project close out checklist template includes sample entries that can be adapted to your project. Add all the procedures, items, documents that are a part of your project and you need to deliver. At the end then at the time of closing cross out all the check list items as they are delivered. You can customize the template according to your needs and company’s information.