Project Management Phases: Exploring Phase #5 – Closure

closure“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” ~ John Rohn. You and your team have worked hard. You have kept your project on track, and finally, you reach phase #5, closure.

We’ve been exploring the project management phases as introduced by Roli Pathak in her article, Top 5 Project Management Phases. She said the closure phase, “includes a series of important tasks such as delivering the product, relieving resources, reward and recognition to the team members and formal termination of contractors in case they were employed on the project.” You’re almost there, but let’s take a look at what’s remaining before your project is complete.

Exploring Phase #5 – Closure

You have some routine administrative tasks to finish so that you may close your project successfully. The project size will dictate the extent of documentation and resource reporting you must do, but each project will have some of these items on a closing checklist.

  1. Planned Activities Checklist – to know that you’re ready to close the project, your first step is to go over the activities checklist one last time – ensuring each item has been completed.
  2. Budget Reporting – Assess your final project budget, and create a report. Be meticulous regarding proper departmental coding, descriptions, etc.
  3. Vendor Contract Closure – If you hired external vendors, be sure to terminate those contracts.
  4. Resource Overage Reallocation – Should you have unused resources upon project completion, make sure you release them, so that other departments have access to them. Resources could include money and equipment, or perhaps personnel on loan from another department for this project.
  5. details-quoteReflection Review Session – Conduct a session where each team member may freely discuss everything he/she learned. Keep a pros and cons list of what did and didn’t work. The valuable insight you gain will help you perform better with this or other teams in the future. For some ideas on who to invite and what questions to ask, check out this list from Project Management Methodology.
    • The lessons learned session is typically a large meeting that includes the following groups:
      • Project team
      • Stakeholder representation – including external project oversight
      • Executive management
      • Maintenance and operation staff
    • Here are some questions to ask in this session.
      • Did the delivered product meet the specified requirements and goals of the project?
      • Was the customer satisfied with the end product?
      • Did we meet cost budgets?
      • Did we meet schedule expectations?
      • Did we identify and mitigate risks?
      • Did the project management methodology work?
      • What could we do differently in the future to improve the process?
  6. Recognition – Your project group has accomplished the objectives as defined in your planning documentation, and have met or exceeded the expectations of your executive management and other stakeholders. You have pleased your client with the deliverables your team provided. Celebrate your success together! Here are some questions from Project Management Methodology you can ask to determine your success rate.
    • Did the team achieve all objectives?
    • Do the stakeholders and customers view the project/product in a positive manner?
    • How well does your team think you managed the project?
    • Did your team work well together and know what was going right and wrong?
    • There are 2 types of recognition that can take place after you close a project.
      • Informal Recognition – This is a type of recognition you as project manager could initiate on the departmental level. Consider showing appreciation to your team with a lunch break party or an informal get together after work.
      • Formal Recognition – This type of recognition may come from your executive management team. They could make a company wide announcement via email newsletter, at a town hall or quarterly meeting. Depending on the project and its public scope, your company may mention you and your team in the local paper or publications specific to your industry.
  7. Project Documentation – Gather all the documentation from the inception of your project, so that you can store it for safekeeping in one location. Make sure you leave as thorough a record as possible. Check out these ideas from Project Management Methodology regarding items to include in your closure documentation.
    • Project Notebook
    • Project Plan – including the Project Charter, Project Scope Statement
    • Risk Management Plan, and Quality Plan
    • Correspondence
    • Meeting notes
    • Status reports
    • Contract file
    • Technical documents
    • Files, programs, tools, etc. placed under the use of Configuration Management
    • Any other pertinent information to the project
  8. Post Implementation Assessment – Your client will test the product or service your team delivered. It may be a few months until you know your true measure of success. You may be responsible to present a post implementation assessment. This final documentation allows your executive management to ascertain, to a precise degree, your team’s achievement.

Wrap-Up & Resources

After finishing a project well, you and your team will have a great sense of accomplishment! To learn even more on this final project management phase, check out Closing phase – Fundamentals of project management.

Rebekah Peterman

Rebekah has a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling and a Master of Science Degree in Personnel Services in the School of Education. She’s participated in projects including editing/writing/publishing and blog articles, and is currently writing informative articles on the topic of project management.