Blog Feature

By: Jeff Collins

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November 17th, 2015

How to Adequately Close Out a Project

Close Out a ProjectOften, project managers focus on the scope of a project and forget about the importance of proper closure. When the project has been completed, the project manager’s duties remain through a series of tasks to ensure the project achieves the greatest possible benefit.

The steps to properly closing a project reveal problems, inconsistencies, benefits, and changes as the project progressed. Furthermore, each of these steps is critical the overall scope of a program and if similar projects will be conducted in the future.

1. Conduct a Post-Implementation Review

A post-implementation review refers to the formal documentation and report of the overall project’s goals and completion information. This report evaluates if the project’s originating objectives were met, if appropriate project management tactics were used, and how closely the final project resembled the original deadline and budget. This report may include quality assurance reports, feedback from team members, and additional documentation on the project’s everyday activities.

2. Identify Ways the Project Could Have Been Improved

In close proximity to conducting the post-implementation review, project managers need to identify what could have been changed in the course of the project to improve the overall result of the project. For example, project managers may identify how extraneous factors, such as political and environmental events, affected the ability of the project management team to complete the project.

Furthermore, this session of reviewing what could have been improved needs to include input from all members of the project management team. After compiling this information, the project management team needs to undergo training on how to adapt and meet similar changes or demands in the future. This improves the performance of the team and reinforces project management skills.

3. Address Employee Concerns, and Complete Transfers or Other Paperwork

During project closure, employees may need to be reassigned or transferred. This may include providing feedback for each employee’s respective file and assisting in the transfer of employees to another project. If outsourced employees have been used, these employees may need their contractual obligations finalized, especially if the project finished prior to the estimated completion date.

4. Finalize Financing Information and Reports

All financial matters need to be reviewed and finalized. This includes the payment of credit accounts and return of unused items to the appropriate vendor or supplier.

Furthermore, a comprehensive report of all expenses needs to be completed to show the project’s overall cost and proximity to the original budget. All payments need to be marked with “Final Payment” to prevent suppliers from invoicing the company after a project’s completion.

5. Store Documentation Appropriately

After the generation of all reports and documentation, the information should be catalogued and archived in an appropriate location. This may include storage on a server and physical transfer of documentation to the company’s location.

6. Recognize the Closure of the Project Positively

Some project may span decades, and closing a project should not be the final step in a project. The final step is made up of a celebration and recognition of the roles of the project management team members and all other staff in the successful completion of a project. This may include a company benefit, a dinner, or an awards ceremony to identify workers who went beyond expectations in the course of the project. Basically, this builds a stronger team for future projects.

When the hammers stop and the building ceases, a project manager’s task of closing the project begins. This includes six steps and ensures the project was completed successfully and without hidden problems. Furthermore, an adequate close out helps prevent problems from arising on future projects and reduces inconsistencies in project expectations. Without a closing out a current project, a project manager cannot successful move on to the next.

Key Takeaway

  • Conduct a thorough post-implementation review.
  • Identify problems, and implement training to reduce similar problems on future projects.
  • Reassign or transfer employees when project closure begins.
  • Finalize all financial payments, and reconcile all financial documentation.
  • Store documentation according to company guidelines.
  • Hold a celebration or ceremony to recognize the completion of the project.

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About Jeff Collins

Hi there, thanks for reading! As the President of IMS, I’ve just about seen it all in the project management industry. I’m happy to share my experiences to help managers and organizations improve their project performance. Please reach out to our team if you’re struggling to achieve your goals. We’d love to work with you to discover the PM solutions you need for success.

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