Project closing is the last phase of project management. Closure activities not only mean delivering the project output to the customer but also includes all documentation of legally closing and handing over details.
The closing phase also provides you with the chance to review and estimate the project’s success (or failure), which is essential for planning and executing thriving projects in the future.
WHAT’S IN IT
- What is Project Closure?
- Importance of project closure
- Project closure steps in project management
- Types of project closure
- Project closure email
What is Project Closure?
Project closing is the last step of the project lifecycle. This is the step where all deliverables are settled and officially transfer. All the documents are signed off, passed, and archived.
The project closure process is performed to ensure the following:
- All work has been finished according to the plan and scope.
- Each project management process has been performed.
- If you have accepted final sign-off and approval from all parties.
- It also allows reviewing your work with the actual plan.
Importance of project closure in project management
Some people neglect the final phase of the project life cycle, i.e. closing activities of the project because they think that the project is completed and the previous 4 phases were enough for the project but, it is not true, as proper project closing is also important like other phases.
Let us know the reasons why it is important:
- It helps you to avoid repetition of mistakes in future projects
- Helps you to assist the support and service for final products by delivering excellent qualities
- Helps in avoiding liability issues rising from unfinished payments, deals, or deliverables
The project closure process also assures that the project is formally finished and is no longer counted as a project, enabling you to hand over the controls to the right team in charge of handling and controlling the project’s outputs.
project closure steps in project management
The closing phase of project management includes several steps. Take assistance from the following checklist to assure your project is happily accomplished.
1. Formally deliver the outputs
The first step in closing your project is to deliver the output/products to the client. Check your project plan to identify all outputs and make sure that all of them were completed and handed over.
2. Validate project completion
Next is to confirm that the project is finished. You can announce that the project is completed. Each person involved in the project needs to agree on the project’s completion before you officially close it out.
If you miss this step, you may receive continued change requests by the client.
To verify the project’s completion, you will have to obtain approvals for the project deliverables with official signatures from the project stakeholders.
Make sure to document this step. So you have the proof that the project conclusion was officially signed off.
3. Review records and documentation
Once you have finished the project hand-off and obtained approvals from the customers, you can start closing out your contracts.
Examine all the project documentation to warrant all people have been paid for the work, and that there are no ignored invoices.
4. Release resources
Officially free resources from the project, including team members, contractors, suppliers, and any other partners. Inform them regarding the end of the project, approve any final fees or commitments, and officially free them so they can be free to work on other projects.
5. Conduct a post-mortem
It is the most important step of the project closing process. This is a time to evaluate the progress, crashes, and difficulties of the project and identify possibilities for improvement.
As you begin it, carry a performance review of the project. In other words, determine the project’s performance in terms of cost, schedule, and quality.
Consider these questions to simplify the process:
Have you stayed within the budget limit?
Did the members of the team involved managed their time carefully?
Are there issues with quality or any other compromises?
Next, carry out a survey or keep a meeting with the entire team to get feedback on how the project went. These unique answers will help in evaluating the project’s performance.
Ask these questions with your team:
What went well?
What were the difficulties or failures?
How greatly did the team interact?
Did the team obey the described methods and plan?
Was the client delighted with the outcomes?
What would you improve or upgrade for future projects?
With all these project performances and feedback in mind, you can then distinguish lessons learned and possibilities for the future.
6. Store documentation
Once after the completion of your project post-mortem, you can end all documentation and arrange them in the company archives for future reference.
Make sure to keep clear records on the project’s performance and advancement possibilities so others can easily refer and execute them on similar projects in the future.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate!
The completion of a project is a big success, It describes the climax of hours of hard struggle and commitment from a team.
Arranging an end-of-project party is a great way to thank your team’s hard work and increase confidence. Plus, a happy team is more obedient to you and works well with you in the future also.
Types of Project Closure
End of some projects may not be as clear as the thought of. Even if the statement may show a clear end for a project, the actual ending may or may not coincide. Conducting project reviews at regular intervals will identify projects whose endings are different from the actual plan. The different types of closure are:
The regular condition of project closure is when the project is completed as planned. This is when project goals are achieved, and the client accepts the project and normal project closure commences.
Few projects do not accomplish all their deliverables and few are not given the opportunity to do so. Instead, they close prematurely by eliminating elements of the project originally identified in the project scope. The reason could be costs, where the client reduces funds on the project, or the project has already consumed the budget. Premature closure also occurs when the project is of strategic importance and must be delivered earlier than expected, such as a new product launch. Delaying the product until the original completion date may result in opportunity lost for the client
Conversely, some projects never seem to end. These are projects that have a number of delays, difficulties, and obstacles. The issue with this type of projects is that they never obtain their purposes or goals due to some changes. This makes it highly frustrating for the project manager and team.
It will also be highly irritating for the client as they do not see the progress of the project, despite the constant demand for changes. At some point, the project manager has to fix the span and plan for closure.
As a result, any additions that the client requests can be viewed as a second phase of the project, rather than the project being perpetual.
Failed projects are easy to identify. Many projects fail because of situations beyond the control of the project team.
Organizations’ preferences often change, and tactics shift directions. For example, during the 2008–2010 economic crisis companies shifted their focus from money-making plans to cost savings plans.
The overlooking group steadily scans project selection priorities to reveal changes in the organizational direction. Projects in the process may need to be adjusted or canceled.
Thus, a project may begin with a high preference, but its rank may crash during its project life cycle as requirements change. When preferences change, projects in the process may need to be changed or canceled.
Project closure email
Everyone knows about the first impression’s impact. Here, the last impression also matters. Sometimes you have to end the project through email and you have to get their attention with your starting lines.
The closing email should consist of the following details:
Subject – “Project Closure | [insert project name]”
Summary – A small statement of 2-3 lines to explain what the project’s objective was.
Schedule – What was the target date? What was the actual completion?
Budget – What was the planned budget? What was the final spending?
Changes – What were the changes (factual, not personal, or deflecting blame) that affected either of the above and final disposition? (Resolved? New Requirements? etc.)
Attach a way to the archived project documents
Thank you statement/summary
Attach the project sign-off document
Review your register and ensure that you have included the right people on the list of distribution and send it off.
Your proper closing of a project may leave a good impression which increases the chances of getting one more project from that person.
Hence, Project closing is also as important as other phases of the project life cycle.
Also you can read our blog on Managing Project Finances