Project Closure Processes

This represents the formal completion of the project deliverables and their transfer to the final beneficiaries - usually internal or external customers. This phase also includes 'administrative closure,' which is the termination of the activities of the project team, the completion of all project documentation, and a formal sign-off of any contracts.

Project closure phase

Project documents are usually archived so that they can be referred to if the organization takes on a similar project where the experience gained and the lessons learned in the current project would prove useful. A carefully structured project closure phase should ensure that the project is brought to a controlled end, which in practice means that:

1) All of the project deliverables are formally transferred to others.
2) All of the lessons learned from the project are documented and archived.
3) Any contracts established by the project are formally closed.

Closing Process Group

When closing the project, the project manager will review all prior information from the previous phase closures to ensure that all project work is complete and that the project has met its objectives.

Since project scope is measured against the project plan, the project manager will review that document to ensure completion before considering the project closed. This process also establishes the procedures to investigate and document the reasons for actions taken if a project is terminated before completion.

If outside suppliers have been used in the project then this process also involves verification that all work and deliverables were acceptable, as well as administrative activities such as finalizing open claims, updating records to reflect final results and archiving this information for future use.

Requirements for formal closure are usually defined in the terms and conditions of the contract and are included in the procurement plan. This output is simply the formal notification from the buyer that the contract has been completed.

The closure process of a contract can occur in any phase of a multi-phase project if its the term is only be applicable to a given phase. Contracts that are applicable to a specific phase will have their particular procedures for contract closure included in the contract terms and conditions. If at the closure of a contract there are unresolved claims the supplier management process will detail when and how litigation will be handled.

In some instances closure of a contract may have to be earlier than planned. Any project contract or agreement needs to specify in a terminations clause the parties' responsibilities and rights in the event of early termination. This special type of procurement closure can occur from:

• Mutual agreement of both parties
• Default of one party, or
• For convenience of the buyer (as long provision is made in the contract).

Early termination can be for the whole contract or just a particular section. It is common practice that the purchaser will have to compensate the supplier as defined in the contract for any work-in-progress (WIP) that has been undertaken.

This is especially important if the project is using teaming agreements where two or more organizations form a partnership or joint venture for the contract. Within the contract there are clear definitions of buyer-seller roles and responsibilities for each party. Many outsourcing specialists will have their own teaming agreement templates.

You may also be interested in:
Project Management Processes | Project Initiation Processes | Project Planning Processes | Project Executing Processes | Project Monitoring and Controlling Processes | Project Change Control Processes | Project Closure Processes.

Key Points

  • The key activities for the closing process are:
    1. Obtaining acceptance by the customer or sponsor (approval to close).
    2. Releasing people and resources.
    3. Reporting on team performance and lessons learned.
    4. Updating or finalizing documents, project records, and results.
    5. Finalizing procurements.
    6. Performing quality assurance activities.
    7. Storing or archiving information.
  • The key outputs of this group are:
    1. Certificate of Completion/Closeout Report.
    2. Staff work assignments.
    3. Resource calendars.
    4. Plan updates.
    5. Final work products/deliverables or services.

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