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Closing Process

Closing Process

Author: Jeff Carroll

This lesson introduces the steps involved in the process of closing a project.

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Source: Image of male project sponsor, Creative Commons, Kelly Eddington; Image of closed sign, tablet, disc, house, receipt, pile of books, papers, storage box, keys, checkbox with mark, people shaking hands, man at laptop celebrating, images by Video Scribe, License held by Jeff Carroll; Image of approved stamp, Public Domain,; Image of lessons learned, Public Domain,

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jeff, and in this lesson, we'll learn how to close out a project once all the deliverables are ready. Even though this is called the closing process, it is still part of the project so it should be included in the schedule and the budget. More detail will be given about these steps in later lessons. But for now, let's go through the order of steps involved in this process so you can see how one step necessarily flows into the next.

The first step in the closing process will be the project manager determining that the project is ready to be closed. All deliverables must be ready and approved by any person with sign-off authority. All work must be marked as complete, and all material resources necessary to place a deliverable into operation must be purchased.

Once the deliverables are ready, then all contracts related to the project must be closed out. This would include any contracts with vendors, consultants, or any external resources. Any contracts related to non-person resources, such as equipment or software rental or leasing, should also be concluded. Final modifications to all project documents must be made as described in the project governance.

Please remember that project documents won't be considered complete until all final project approvals have been given, since work might be required that results in changes to the schedule or budget. The project approval must be completed. As with phase approvals, the project manager will need to facilitate an approval meeting and project sign-off from the sponsor and key stakeholders.

Lessons Learned are completed next. This document will help project managers with future projects. It describes the issues, approaches, and successes of the project and outlines how each was managed so the knowledge and experience can be retained and used.

All records are warehoused. The final project documentation is safely stored so that it can be accessed in the future. This includes all scope, schedule, and budget documents, risk and decision logs and any meeting agendas and notes should also be archived, as well as any documentation created during the project closing process, such as the Lessons Learned.

Most project deliverables will then be moved into operations. So the project manager will transfer ownership of the project to a hand-off person. This is often a project stakeholder or someone closely engaged with the project. If no transfer is needed, then a project closing meeting might be held to notify the team that the project is completing.

Finally, the project team members are evaluated and released. The team as a whole should be assessed against project expectations and against any organizational standards. Details about individual team members' performance, since this is often used in annual performance reviews, should also be documented. Team members are then released to other work. Be sure not to release team members too early because they might be needed during the closing process, especially when transferring ownership.

Once these steps are complete, the project is officially closed. At this time, or perhaps before team members are released, a celebration meeting might be held so the project manager can make one final communication to the team about the success and challenges of the project. Now, all organizations may not follow the exact order of these steps. For example, team members might be released over the course of the project as they complete their work. However, each of these steps should still be part of the process.

All right, excellent work. We've learned what a project manager must do to complete their project. Thanks for listening, and have a great day.