How to Close a Project

ProjectManager.com

As a project manager you need to know how to kickoff your project, run it and then close it, and there’s a proper procedure to each of these steps. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, in this short training video focuses on closing your project successfully with these easy-to-follow steps.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

Project Closing Phase

In Review: How and Why to Close a Project

Jennifer notes that you’re always working to start, initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control your project through the project management lifecycle. However, often project managers neglect closing their project with the same discipline. Closing a project is part of every project and important for more reasons than just so you and the team get paid (though that is important, too).

There is a procedure to properly closing a project. Jennifer follows a checklist to make sure that all aspects of that method is done and accounted for. Here’s her list:

  • Review lessons learned
  • Obtain approvals
  • Get signatures
  • Close contracts
  • Complete final costs
  • Make payments
  • Finalize reports
  • Transition support
  • Release resources
  • Archive documentation
  • Celebrate success

That final item will be that much more of a celebratory event if you know that your project has been tied up in a neat bow. If you’re looking for the best ways to reward your team after a job well done, this article in Harvard Business Review offers some good suggestions.

Pro-Tip: Getting paid is important, like we said, but there’s more to it than financial gain. You have to account for all the invoices, too, and any commissions, fees or bonuses related to the project. Using an online invoicing tool can help keep track of all project expenses. There is likely more than just your resources that need the paycheck, but also the vendors that you have to build strong and loyal relationships with to foster good working partnership for when you start the next job.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Hello everyone. Well, today we’re talking about how to close a project. So no matter what, don’t forget to close.

For a moment let’s take a look at the project life cycle and some of the project management processes. So when we start the project, we initiate it, we plan it, we execute it, monitor it, and control it along the way. And then boom, we close it, before it ends. So for a fact, all projects do end. That’s the definition of a project. A project has a definite start and a definite end.

So we want to look at some of the level of activity during the project phases over time. So if we look at initiat[ion], the activity begins. It’s not a lot, but activity begins to initiate the project. And then as we plan it, we execute it, we monitor and control it, that activity increases. And so as we go further along in the project, we get to the close phase. And so at the close you see we still have activity; although it’s reduced, activity is still there. So it’s enough activity that it is its own phase. So we do the activities before we end the project.

So why do we want to close the project? By closing a project it allows us to wrap up the project, move on to a new one, and everyone get paid. So because there are activities, we recommend a check list. And so in that check list, here are a few things that we recommend. Number one, review lessons learned. Even though we’re doing lessons learned all along the way, we really want to capture, and we want to review those lessons to make sure to apply those for future projects.

Then we want to obtain all of the approvals—the approvals from our stakeholders. Make sure that they’ve approved everything that we’ve done for the project. Then we want to get the signatures, because even though we’re getting approvals, the signature is a written signature, and it’s legal, and it’s binding for certain things that we need. We also want to close all the contracts. We have contracts between internal partners, maybe some of our vendor partners and other resources, so we want to close those out formally. We want to compute all of the final cost of the project.

And then with that, we want to make all payments. We want to make sure that we pay all the invoices, we paid any commissions, any fees, or any bonuses. We also want to then finalize all the reports. We want to look at variances. How did we do in this project? We also want to transition support. So from the project we’ve either produced a new service, maybe a new business unit, maybe some new work product, and after that someone needs to manage it, support it afterwards. So we need to transition that to whoever is going to do that going forward.

Then we also want to release the project resources. So if they’re internal we want to release them to work on the next project. If they’re external we want to formally release them, too. Then we also want to archive any kind of documentation. We may need to access it in the future, so we want to make sure it’s formally closed out and archived. Then we also want to celebrate success along the way.

So if you need a tool to help you close out your project, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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