Project closure, for me can consist of several processes depending on the scope of the project. It can serve to:
- Confirm that the work is done to satisfy a set of agreed requirements
- Complete the procurement closure
- Gain financial acceptance of the project/product
- Complete financial closure
- Hand off complete project/product
- Solicit feedback from the customer(s) about the project/product
- Complete the financial performance reporting
- Index and archive records
- Gather key learnings / insights
Regardless, a project closure event, requires that learnings, new knowledge gained be recorded and factored into continuous improvement process – in line with best practice.
The diagram below follows a Sigma Six process improvement process. Most importantly, it stresses the importance of Analyse, Improve & Control. A project closure document aims only to tie off a phase or discrete body of work prior to the commencement of another.
Even the most successful projects have lessons from which we can learn from. Whether you’re upgrading an IT system, any data project or transformative body of work, there will be lessons you can learn from your project. An effective Project Manager documents and analyses the lessons learned from his/her project and applies them to future projects throughout a business.
Post Project Review
It’s good practice to review all projects at their completion. A Post Project Review should be performed in addition to a Lessons learned. Reviewing your project to see how actuals compared to planned gives you a good sense for the project’s overall performance. The post project review along with Lessons learned provides meaningful input to future projects and are quite often equally important as the delivered output.
Formal Project Acceptance requires a signature by the Project Sponsor or Customer. Before a project can be closed out the Project Manager needs formal acceptance of the project by the Project Sponsor or Customer. Formal acceptance is one step of the close-out process and doesn’t release the Project Manager or resources from the Project. It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to release resources during the closing process and ensure that all closing tasks are completed.