Follow These Basic Steps to Formally Close Your Project

The Project Closure is the last point in a project life cycle. In this phase, you will officially close your project and then report its overall level of success to your sponsor. Project Closure involves handing over the deliverables to your customer, passing the documentation to the business, canceling supplier contracts, releasing staff and equipment, and informing stakeholders of the closure of the project.

“Here's the TenStep guest blog post "Follow These Basic Steps to Formally Close Your Project":

When you start your project you need to make sure you include the activities, time and budget to formally close the project. This is true regardless of whether the project is successful or not. In fact, even if your project is cancelled, you should still go through a formal close process. Here are the things to consider.

Step 1: Confirm Project Completion

The first step in closing a project is to confirm that the project is ready to be closed. You should have defined ahead of time what it takes to be complete. This is the formal project completion criteria. Examples of completion criteria may include:

  • All the project objectives have been met.
  • The final solution or deliverables have been formally accepted.
  • Any pre-agreed post implementation criteria have also been met.

When the acceptance criteria are met, the project should be ready to close.

Step 2: Perform Closure Actions

Now that you've confirmed that the project is ready for closure, you're ready to complete the actions needed to close the project. This includes activities such as:

  • Deliverables transitioned to operations
  • Supporting documentation handed over to the business
  • Resources reassigned
  • Project artifacts archived
  • Contracts closed
  • Project conclusion meeting held and lessons learned documented

If you don't think about project closure until the end of the project you will be scrambling trying to determine what to do with rapidly disappearing staff. This is the beauty of thinking this through up-front during the planning process. If you have planned for a structured close process, you will have the information you need to validate it is time to close, plus you will already have the activities defined to complete the closure.

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