Posted by: Craig Harding | December 2, 2009

Closing out a Project

When a project is complete, it doesn’t just stop. There is a closeout process. The purpose of the closeout process is to ensure that:

  •  All requirements have been met and the client is satisfied – for consultants, hopefully the client can serve as a reference for the future,
  • Team members get closure on their performance – by learning the results of team surveys, and
  • Your project team is able to leverage what it has learned from this engagement – by documenting learnings and archiving the paperwork.

 Acceptance Criteria for Closing out a Project

 Closing out a project correctly entails all of the following:

  • Issue a final status report
  • Hold a final meeting with client management – In that meeting review all open issues, review business benefits, lessons learned, and change management procedures
  • For consultants, you should discuss with your account manager to ensure that the client is able to be used as a reference in the future.
  • Assess the potential for future business that is appropriate for your company. On implementation projects, there are frequently Phase II or III opportunities to become involved. As the PM, you are in a good position to know how you can help. You have kept up with change requests that did not get approved for Phase 1 and you know about Model or Preview findings that got postponed because of time, budget or other constraints. You have interacted with SME’s and other client personnel who discuss “wish lists” and business processes that are not supported by current solutions. This is information you should pass to the account manager at project closeout.
  • Participate in the Post-Implementation Review Process if one is deemed appropriate and report your findings to your team, client, and management.
  • Crate, catalog, and store appropriate hard copy documents as required by the client or your company. This includes confidential and sensitive documents that may have been generated during the project, signature documents such as client sign-off forms for deliverables such as functional specifications, model, testing results, etc. and overall system signoff. Also archive appropriate documents electronically.

When you Close Out a Project

On some projects closeout occurs during the final week the PM is on-site at the client location. If the team is responsible for interim support for a period of time, closeout would occur after this period. In either situation, transitional meetings are conducted and final action items are completed. The PM should confirm with his/her account manager and project sponsors that required closeout actions have been performed.

Your Role in Closing Out a Project

The Project Manager should own the responsibility for closing out the project. As Project Manager, you are responsible to:

  • Finalize the project closeout paperwork. This typically means applying final updates to closeout the project plan and issuing a final project status report, but other documents may need to be prepared. Open or pending items such as questions on invoices or client concerns must be documented and reported to the proper company and/or client management.
  • Complete the electronic archiving of final engagement-specific documents. This includes migrating appropriate documents to any company or client LAN directory.
  • Package appropriate paper documents for archiving in the regional office. Gather together all hard copy project documents such as client signature documents or other documents that are confidential in nature or may not have been created in electronic format and create a packing list itemizing the documents either by category or individually.

Remember, the project close out and lesssons learned is a crucial part of communications with the client, project team members, and an important opportunity to improve on future projects.




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