I was just thinking today that in the many years that I have been in the work force and the tons of projects that I have worked on, I can only count a handful of times where they were effectively closed. Project closure is often times completely omitted and deemed unnecessary a phase to have to perform after all the project is done, right? Wrong! The project closing phase is just as important as any other phase of project management. Without project closure we don’t know what was done well or what wasn’t and opportunities for improvement on future projects are not identified. Here are some of the reason why project closure is sometimes skipped:
- Sometimes the project team members may not be open to feedback especially negative feedback.
- The Project Manager might be swamped or pressed for time to move to the next project.
- The project team members might have had enough of this particular project and are eager to move on to the next project.
- The project team members may genuinely be needed to work on other projects thus unavailable to participate in this phase.
Project Managers should plan for closure activities when they are putting together the project plan. The project closure steps are as follows:-
- Ensure that stakeholders sign off and are happy with the project deliverables.
- Hold a conclusion meeting with all the stakeholders present. Recap the project, document lessons learned and identify pending steps, if any, to close the project.
- File the necessary project documentation including the final report which should have the status of the project at the time of completion, an assessment of the need for assistance after project completion and the project team members experiences.
- Embark on some housekeeping e.g. returned borrowed equipment, archive project materials etc.
- If a need for assistance after project completion is identified then transition necessary resources to provide support.
- Review final financial reports to make sure the project budget is up to date and ready should there be an audit.
- Dissolve the project team members and assist in their re-assignment.
- Review performance of project team members and provide feedback.
- Celebrate and honor project team members as well as stakeholders, clients, customers – the whole extended project team.
It is important to note that projects are incomplete until all project closure activities have been performed.