Its the last labor of your love to close a project!
A seemingly end of a cycle has a potential of a new beginning, this is important for the organizations rendering professional services for clients as well as internal project organizations from the stand point of enablement of the teams who are going to take care of the product of the project during its operational lifecycle, so its all important to close a project formally. As projects by their very nature are temporary endeavors, so when all the deliverables having delivered, the product of the project has been put into operations, the project is technically complete. But there are several practical tasks which are formally needed to be carried out in order to close a project.This post aims at sharing knowledge about the tasks involved.
As PMBOK® lays out, a project needs to be closed, if:
A. Project has come to close after completing its normal cycle. Or there are circumstances that;
B. A projects is short closed
whatever may be the case, the Project Manager needs to accomplish this task diligently so that-
1. Value can be demonstrated through accomplishments of the project
2. All legal contracts could be wound up
3. Setting up procedure for warranties and AMC
4. If it is a phase closure then, preparation for next phase can be started
5. Knowledge in the form of Organizational Process Assets can be preserved through archival of project documents, which can be retrieved for reuse in the future
6. Lessons learnt can be recorded and preserved for future reference
A project closure goes through an essential Handover/ Takeover process, where requisite knowledge is passed on to the client IT or Centre of Competence for carrying out the support during the operational cycle.
Following is the closure process:
1. Handover Project Documentation: On a typical IT/ Software Implementation project, the project manager is required to pass on the technical/functional documentation to the client, before the client signs off the formal closure document of the project, signing of this document is important to get the acknowledgement from the client and it can help the implementer establish their claim to any money pending to be paid for such milestone.
These technical documents are:
1. Authenticated copies of business blue print documents
2. Program specifications for custom developments/ code enhancements etc.: both functional as well as technical documentation ( this may be subject to any specific agreement between the parties or may be subject to any intellectual property rights stipulations)
3. If the agreement provides so, instruction manuals or business process documentations
4. Standard Operating Procedure documents for handling special business requirements
5. Configuration documentation for technical systems set up, as applicable
6. Handing over the issue log, issue resolution information to the CoC team of the client
Above documentation is a part of hand over process, and constitutes a value delivery to the implemented processes, product or service so that operation is carried out smoothly and scalable solutions are incorporate in future.
2. Release the project team: Project closure entails the project team members are released of their project responsibilities and are appraised of their performance by recording the same in the appraisal system. For the outsourced employees, their staffers must be communicated their last working day in advance so that their agreement can be appropriately closed.
3. Closure of Contracts: Entered into with various parties for renting of equipment, facilities and time and material contracts for contract workmanship, needs to closed and warranty/AMC information needed for supporting any equipment/servicing must be passed on to the incumbent teams for better managing the operational life cycle.
4. Compiling lessons learnt documentation and providing it to respective PMO for record keeping. A project manager must avoid cluttering and unnecessary information pile-up and guide the team to keep crisp and objective statement of lessons learnt in an easily phrase able language.
5. Archive Project documents: Project documents include, technical and functional documentation, program codes, configuration information, cost estimates, assumptions and project budget, Risk documentation, etc. Easy retrieval of these reference documentation is the key to their archival, its always good to maintain a directory of the project documents.
6. Sign off of project closure, by securing approvals from the steering committee/sponsor of the project, on a duly compiled formal Project Closure document.
7. Finally sending out the project closure communication to all the relevant stakeholders, so that the fact of project closure is formally disseminated to all relevant parties.
A formal project closure sees many practical actions where the project manager has to carry out a balance in securing all the relevant documentation and know how, rightly passing it on to the incumbent support teams and has to secure the management's go ahead in formally completing the project in the form of Project Closure document, and communicating it to the relevant stakeholder group. This process ensures full life cycle completion of a project legally, technically and factually.
A well closed project ensures a repeat business for the professional services rendering organizations, and a ensures effectiveness of the internal organization as the case may be, so it must carried out with rigor and professional diligence.