Every project is a lesson and skipping the closure phase in the lifecycle of a project is akin to never taking the final test. Whether it is a success or failure, an organization can learn something from every venture. That is, of course, unless you fail to document the final phase or meet on deliverables.
The primary objective of the project closure phase is to ensure that all loose ends are tied up and that the project manager’s work is approved. To accomplish this a project manager should establish a closing process that is performed at the end of each project. The following are some closure phase best practices and how to make sure the job is truly done.
Confirm Work is Complete
Prior to any meetings with stakeholders or final exchange of monies, the project manager must ensure all deliverables have been met. This can include any of the following tasks:
- Handing off goods
- Transferring deliverables
- Settling documentation
- Providing agreed upon services
- Delivering a final product
There are a lot of checks and balances during the final project management lifecycle that must be accounted for. The project is considered done when every last thing promised has been delivered.
Procurement Closure and Formal Acceptance
Any remaining payments to suppliers or partners should be made and all procurements settled. Additionally, all contracts need to be signed and you should receive a formal acceptance from your client in writing that they are satisfied with the work. This will curb any possible future lawsuits or people going back on their word of satisfaction.
This is by far the most critical aspect of the closure phase because it ensures you are legally protected and that everyone is on the same page. It signifies that everybody agrees all objectives have been met and the work has been sufficiently delivered.
Final Performance Reporting and Analysis
Now is the time for reflection. The final performance of the project should be calculated and delivered. This includes factors like:
- Schedule performance
- Cost performance
Did the project come in over or under budget? Analysis involves moving through each of the project management phases to determine how well the team performed and what can be improved upon.
Final performance and analysis will also help you reallocate resources to other projects, once the closure phase is complete. All documentation should be organized, labeled and archived properly for future reference if needed.
Although the closure phase of a project may not always be as exciting as beginning one, it is vital to the success of a company. The closure phase is the key point in a project lifecycle where a project manager not only ensures they are doing their job, but that they are also learning from any mistakes they make.
The best practices of the project management closure phase include ensuring all work is done, all paperwork is signed and everyone is happy. If they aren’t, it needs to be discussed. When a system is established for continuous improvement, you will only see the success rates of your projects climb.