Projects are time-bound by nature, necessitating execution within predefined timeframes. The Project Closing phase is the final step of the project life cycle and holds considerable significance in the context of organizational accountability. It is, however, one of the most overlooked project management activities. A Project Closure serves as a procedure during this phase to formally close the project. It is used to summarizing project results and validating the successful accomplishment of project objectives.
In essence, a project closure is a document that provides a formal way for closing the project while also services as a repository for recording its ultimate outcomes. It allows to go through the best practices and lessons learned as well as any issues and challenges that may have emerged during project implementation. It helps to ensure that adequate controls are in place and sufficient to sustain the benefits achieved. Furthermore, it signifies the team’s release from the project and formalizes the handover to the process owner.
Project closure reports often include the following elements:
- A comprehensive summary of project objectives, results and deliverables.
- Benefits obtained (net gains, hard savings, soft savings, etc.).
- Improvement in performance (Initial vs. final defect levels, DPMO, other key metrics, etc.).
- Controls in place to sustain the benefits (audit checklists, visual controls, etc.).
- Best practices, lessons learned, issues, challenges, and shortcomings developed during implementation.
- Identification and resolution of project challenges and issues.
- Ongoing work and next steps.
It is important to obtain signatures from key stakeholders to confirm the completion of the project and gain their formal acceptance.
There are many tools that can help to formally close your project. The simplest way is to use this excel worksheet.
In conclusion, the project closure document acts as a repository for recording outcomes, best practices, and lessons learned, as well as addressing any challenges that happened during implementation. This document ensures that controls are in place to sustain the benefits obtained and formalizes the handover to the process owner. Obtaining signatures from key stakeholders is significant for confirming project completion and securing their formal acceptance.