The objective of the project closure is to ensure that:
· A project is closed down in a controlled and organized way
· All accountabilities relating to it have been discharged or handed over to the line or to another project.
Closure is formal end-point of the project, either because it is completed or because it has been terminated. Termination may be occurring because the project is no longer viable or because the risk associated with it have become unacceptably high. The closure review should:
· Review the efficiency of the project in terms of meeting the original time, cost and scope
· Confirm that the benefits have been built into the business forecast
· Record and communicate any lesson which can be beneficial to future projects.
As far as the project sponsor is concerned, either the project has been completed and he/ she can now expect to benefit from it, or the project has been terminated. In the latter case, this may be because the original business need no longer exists, but if it does, the project sponsor will need to act to address the unresolved business need which intended the project I the first place.
There are three key steps to closing a project:
· Prepare the closure report
· Formally close the project
· Close down and communicate
The closure reports
It is the project sponsor role to approve the closure of the project, however if the project is to be closed partway through and other projects are affected (the project definition will define any project independencies) approval may need to give by higher authority or agreed with other effected parties.
When a project is to be closed, the project manager should:
· Check the status and completeness of the Business case (including project definition) the change and issues logs, the most recent progress report and any papers referring to early cancellation of project.
· Prepare a draft project closer report with the team, including the term of reference for post-implementation review.
The purpose of the closure report is to record the reason for closer, the benefits the project is expected to achieve and any outstanding accountabilities which need to be handed over. It is also documents any lesson learned regarding how the project was conducted and the efficacy of the supporting process.
The project closure report should include the following sections:
· Business objective
· Closure statement
· Benefits measurement
· Outstanding issues and deliverables
· Project efficiency
· Lessons learned
The closure meeting
The project manager should invite key individuals to a meeting at which the project is formally approved for closure by a project sponsor. By drawing the group together, the project manager has an opportunity to:
· Ensure feedback reflects the differing viewpoints of those involved.
· Assign accountabilities for outstanding issues.
· Acknowledge the team and celebrate.
The quality and sharing of feedback is always greater when done in a group than when conducted in isolation.
The draft project closure report, which should be circulated prior to the meeting, provided the brief for the attendees. This will be amended based on the discussion and feedback received at the meeting.
If the project is small or if the project sponsor and the project manager do not believe a meeting will add value, formal closure should be agreed by project sponsor after a review of the closure report by the relevant individuals.
It may be advisable to hold two meetings for large projects; the first to cover items 1 to 6 and the second to cover item 7. This is particularly of value when it is known that the project can contribute greatly to the company’s corporate learning.
Following approval to close the project from the project sponsor, the project manager should:
· Finalize the project closure report
· Prepare a communication, enclosing the approved project closure report to the project sponsor, project team and stakeholders, confirming the decision to close the project.
· Complete any outstanding closure actions
· Feedback any suggested process improvements to the relevant project offices or process support group.