In this last lesson, we will build on the fundamentals learned in lesson four. We have completed the project and met the required goals and objectives, but now need to officially close the project. In this lesson, we will learn how to make sure all of the deliverables are met, and how to transition out of the project.
- Learn how to evaluate the project results opposite the original objectives
- Learn the various termination techniques
- Knowledge of the close-out check list
- Learn what is required in a Final Report
to be uploaded shortly
Projects differ from other types of work, in that they have a theoretical distinct end. At some point, all of the work is completed, results are achieved, and resources are dispersed to other assignments. Project Closure is a process that occurs whether a project is successful or not. It is important that we assess and recognize results and close the project properly.
The Completed Product is the input for the Project Closure phase. Our next step is to review the Completed Product opposite of what was defined in the project scope.
The Evaluation stage is a period when we reflect on the original goals for the project. We typically go through the following checklist and ask ourselves the following questions:
- Did the scope get accomplished?
- Were the technical objectives met?
- What are the recommendations for other projects?
- What Project Historical Data has been obtained for other projects?
You will want to have a third party audit the project team and performance at closure. The audit team must conduct the audit on-site, understand politics of project team, be familiar with requirements of the project, write and distribute a report (Audit Report). Typically, these audit teams have free access to anyone with knowledge of the project. The Audit Report is used as part of the Final Report.
Whether normal termination or abnormal, the typical project manager and project team will do everything in their power to avoid the subject and to distance themselves from the situation. In the case of normal termination, the motivation is two-fold.
First, the thought of leading the initiation of a new project is much more exciting than doing cleanup work on the project that is nearing completion. Certainly, it is much more interesting to move to the initiation phase of a new project than to manage the mundane details of cleaning up the odds and ends of the project approaching completion. Frankly, most people would find this phase to be boring.
Second, project participants are on the lookout for new project opportunities, recognizing that their current assignment is coming to an end. Third, many projects are delivered late, over budget, and with less scope than originally designed. Who wants to be around when the blame is allocated?
The decision to terminate a project is usually made by senior managers. A termination process should be specified in project plan, along with a termination manager.
When do we terminate? Here are two benchmarks for consideration:
- Sunk cost approach
Are we willing to invest additional time to complete the project?
- Goals approach
The degree to which the project has met its goals, or
The degree to which the project qualifies against a set of success / failure factors
How do we terminate? There are several types of termination:
- By Addition
- By Integration
- By Starvation
Here, the technical processes of the project are immediately terminated. But, there are still management processes to be planned and executed by the Project Manager. Here are some examples of project extinction:
- Successful completion of the project scope and acceptance by the client
- Project has been superseded by external developments
- Project no longer has sufficient support of senior management
- Project becomes a new formal part of the organization
- In-House successfully completed project
- Project personnel, property and equipment transferred to newly created organizational unit within parent organization
This is the most common termination type, and the most complex for the Project Manager.
- Project becomes a standard part of operating systems
- Project product is integrated into operations of client or parent company
- Project personnel, property and equipment are reassigned/released and disbursed
This is a project in name only. The project does receive any support from management.
As your project comes to a close, it is important that you prepare to release your project team members back to their department or organization. This ensures that the people won’t continue to spend time, effort, or resources on it in the future. To do this, you should do the following:
- Obtain required approvals
Client- certificate of conformance, obtain payment for the completed project (product, event, etc.)
Management- documentation of approved test results,
- Reconcile outstanding transactions
Resolve any outstanding transactions associated with suppliers, vendors, unpaid bills, late charges, errors, etc.
- Close out charge categories
Get official documentation that no additional charges will be made, and reflected on management’s charge code or budget
Other projects can benefit from experiences obtained from your project. These experiences keep other projects from making similar mistakes and can shorten the learning curve for all parties involved. A post project evaluation, sometimes called ‘lessons learned’, is an assessment of the project results, tasks, and processes that gives praise to team member’s contributions, highlight approaches that made both a positive and negative impact on the project.
Other close-out items include:
- Final measurements
- Punch list
- Uncompleted tasks
- Special Close-out Tasks
- Client Feedback
You’re almost there. The Final Report is the final deliverable from your project. This includes the following:
- Project Performance
- Administrative Performance
- Organizational Structure
- This is a summary of what was achieved and reasons for resulting performance.
- How did we perform opposite the project description- scope, schedule, budget, and quality objectives?
- Compare proposal to post implementation audit.
- Comment on deviations.
- This is a review of how well administrative practices worked.
- Confidential comments on performance of individuals and teams in the project environment.
- This identifies modifications that may be needed to help future projects.
- Did the organizational structure impede and/or speed?
Article: Project Closure Template