Project Closure involves releasing the final deliverables to the customer, handing over project documentation to the business, terminating supplier contracts, releasing project resources and communicating project closure to all stakeholders. The last remaining step is to undertake a Post Implementation Review to identify the level of project success and note any lessons learned for future projects.
This is the final stage in the project, and is often the one that is skipped on or sometimes missed altogether, with project managers and teams keen to move onto their next challenge. In this final stage, it is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that the project is closed down properly. This involves ensuring that the success criteria have been met. The project manager should ensure that the client is happy with the deliverables and that the project is signed-off. All outstanding risks and issues should be addressed – either they are covered off and closed down or plans in place to address them after the project has closed. The project closure phase is the opportunity to review the overall performance of the project and identify the things that went well and the things that didn’t go so well and these can form the foundation of a lessons-learned report that can feed into other projects. The project closure phase should produce a final report that can be used to communicate the project’s performance to management and other stakeholders.
Here are some specific steps you can take to close a phase in a project:
- Make sure you understand all of the deliverables and quality audits that must be passed to move out of a phase. The deliverables should be in your project plan.
- Gather measurements and reports that describe project or phase performance.
- Create a checklist based on the deliverables and associated measurements completed showing their success. Prove completion or provide justification why the deliverable was not needed.
- Receive approval from the customer or sponsor for the end of the phase and to move on to the next phase.
- Store the documents from the phase in your project files. If they are to be changed, make sure you have a good process and justification for the changes.
- Hold lessons learned as soon after the phase completion as possible. Try to get participation from as many stakeholders as possible.
- Document the lessons learned in a nonjudgmental way, and share with the rest of your organization. Try and implement as many improvements in other projects as possible.