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The weeks, months or even years in which a project is planned and executed constitute a wealth of work and documentation, including contracts, planning, communication, deliverables and reporting. By the time you reach the end of a project life cycle, you’ll find that there are several further steps required just for closure.

The closure phase of a project entails handing off deliverables, archiving documents, closing out contracts and moving resources to new projects. The project management closure phase is a necessary part of the project life cycle, and failure to complete this phase could lead to issues down the road, say if deliverables are not received by the client or legal documents are not signed off on. Here are some best practices for final project management phases.

Transfer of Project Deliverables

Transferring deliverables for a project could including handing off promised goods and associated documentation, as well as providing agreed upon services like demos, training and so on. You want to make sure the client is satisfied with all project management phases, including the final product, and this requires you to deliver on everything promised as part of the contract. Transfer of deliverables may actually occur throughout the project life cycle, depending on milestones and the terms of the contract. However, before final closure can take place, you must deliver everything the client needs to move forward using the product you have promised.

Completion of Contracts

Perhaps the most important part of the project management closure phase is getting everyone involved to sign off on completion of contracts. This signifies that everyone involved agrees that all work has been delivered, that all invoices have been paid, that all objectives have been met and that each party is satisfied that the contract has been fulfilled. If contracts are not completed and signed off on, it could open the door to lawsuits down the line, perhaps from clients claiming that they were not satisfied or that they didn’t receive everything they were promised. For this reason, a project is not complete until this crucial step has been carried out.

Project Analysis and Archiving

This portion of the project management closure phase may or may not involve client input. Analysis involves revisiting each of the project management phases to determine how work progressed, what was done right and what mistakes were made. This helps projects managers and teams streamline processes, reduce waste, learn from blunders and continually improve performance. You may also ask clients for feedback about the project in general, or about specific concerns.

From there you should organize all documentation in a sensible way, label it appropriately, provide a brief overview of contents and archive it, just in case the project needs to be revisited at a later date for reference or as a basis for future projects with a client.

Reprioritizing Resources

Once you’ve completed the closure phase, it’s time to repurpose your resources. In other words, you need to move team members onto new projects. This could mean moving employees onto existing projects or reprioritizing an entire team to start a new project. Either way, you want to make sure employees aren’t left languishing once a project has reached completion, and by utilizing Clarizen’s project management solutions you have the visibility and integration you need to seamlessly repurpose resources.

David Goulden
David Goulden, Product Director