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Project closure can take many forms: through project post mortems and lessons learned, retrospectives and wrap-ups.
It is not easy to close a project. But you already know this.
This project closure guide contains a lot of useful resources that will help you streamline, simplify, and master the project closing process.
A project closure process that involves many steps and is broken down into three phases.
Loose Ends & Formalities
Feedback, Learning, and Review
Final Look and Moving Forward
Project closure is a process that takes time. You shouldn’t try to compress these phases into one day.
This page should be saved so that you can refer to it as you go through the stages of closing your project.
You can also download a project closing checklist. It covers the main phases and breaks them down into subtasks that you can check off as your project closes.
Our DPM Membership includes a project closing checklist that follows the steps I have described in this article. Click here to learn more about becoming a member and access the checklist. There are also 50+ templates, lists, samples, ebooks, workshops, workshops, and other resources.
Listen to the 30-minute podcast episode about closing your project in the next few week. It will cover what to do and not do during the closing phase.
What is Project Closure?
The project closure phase is the final phase of a project’s lifecycle. It officially ends a project. Meetings and communication with stakeholders and your team are essential for the project management closure process. You will also need to have a few project documents and analytical skills.
Once the project closure phase has been completed, your project documents and any final reports will be available to your clients and stakeholders. Your team will also have the opportunity to reflect on their processes and adjust them.
When should I begin the project closure process?
Here’s what you have done before you close your project.
Your team has completed QA and tested the deliverables
You have delivered the project and the client has approved it.
You’ve made it live.
The “thing” does not mean that the project is finished. It doesn’t happen when developers disperse or when the designer gives a high-five. The project isn’t closed, even if there’s confetti falling from the ceiling.
Important Note: If you have to bill for all of your time on the project, it is necessary to account for the project closure steps at end.
If you don’t have the budget to cover the type of wrap-up project I cover, it is always helpful to have a billing bucket per client for overhead so you can still show them that you are doing work for them without adding hours to your project budget.
If you don’t have the option of billing to overhead, admin, and any other non-billable buckets, make sure you have enough time at the beginning to cover project closure. If you reach the end of a project and you don’t have the time to account for all the steps required to close it, prioritize what is most important to you, your team, and your company.
Sometimes, when there wasn’t enough budget for a retrospective I pitched to management the need to conduct an internal review to validate existing processes. This usually wins me enough time to do a brief retro and present my findings directly to the management team.
It can be difficult to find the time to close a project properly after you’ve worked hard for it.
It is in your best interests to have a project closing procedure.