Three Steps to Formally Close a Project
A project does not end when you implement or launch your solution. Terms like “launch”, “deploy” or “implement” are project lifecycle documents. A project does not formally end until project management “close”. Project closure allows you to ensure all the work is done and all of the project components are put in their place. It is a way to formally “tie a bow” around the project before walking away. There could be a lot of loose ends to tie up, including the following.
Section 1: Validate Completion Criteria
Before you take action to close the project, you need to determine whether all of the project closure criteria have been fully satisfied. For example:
- Have all the project objectives been completed?
- Has the project resulted in the stated benefits?
- Have all of the deliverables been produced?
You will need to perform a review of the project to determine whether these criteria have been met.
Section 2: Close Outstanding Items
If you’re confident that the project has met all of the completion criteria, then the nextstep is to list any outstanding items. These are typically activities listed as incomplete on the schedule, outstanding issues, punch-list items or general items that require attention. As you list each outstanding item, identify the actions that are needed to fully resolve them as well as who is responsible. Since the project is ending, these outstanding items are usually transitioned into operations/support to be completed.
Section 3: Complete Closure Actions
After determining that the project is ready for closure and listing the outstanding items, you can now complete all the actions needed to close your project. These actions may include:
- Handing over the final deliverables to operations or the customer
- Collating and filing all project documentation
- Terminating all supplier contracts and contractors
- Releasing project staff, equipment and materials
- Communicating the closure of the project to stakeholders.
Once you have completed the three sections above, you’re ready to formally close the project.