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PRINCE2 - Closing a Project (CP) part 1

Fundamental principles

A project is finite – it has a start and an end.
This distinctiveness provides some advantages over purely operational management approaches.

A clear end to the project:

Is always more successful than the natural tendency to drift into use and subsequent modification of the product.

It is a recognition by all concerned that:

  1. The original objectives have been met
  2. The current project has run its course
  3. Either the operational regime must now take over or the products from this project become inputs into some subsequent project or into some larger programme
  • Helps to achieve business objectives by avoiding wasted time and by providing a useful opportunity to take stock of achievements and experience
  • Provides an opportunity to ensure that all unachieved goals and objectives are identified so that can be addressed in the future


Preparation for closing the project is triggered by the approaching end of the final stage of the project or by it becoming apparent that the project is no longer viable for some reason. All the sub-processes within Closing Project (CP) may be done in parallel – or at least with considerable overlap. The work undertaken throughout Closing a Project (CP) does not constitute a stage.

Process description

This process must be tailored to meet the needs of the project.
If the project is part of a programme it may affect how follow-on actions are handled.
The project may be closely connected with a subsequent project and may have been planned ahead that way.
All of the results of the first project feed into the subsequent one, in which case there may be no need to be concerned about maintenance or operational arrangements, or other follow-on actions.

As another example, if the project has delivered an intangible product – for example, to bring about a change in philosophy – then the objective of ensuring that operational and support arrangements are in place may not be appropriate.

The following is an illustrative list of aims of the Closing a Project (CP) process.

Depending on the type of project they may not all be required:

  • Ensure that the objectives or aims set out in the Project Initiation Document have been met
  • Ensure that all expected products have been handed over and accepted by the customer or relevant subsequent project
  • Ensure that the Acceptance Criteria have all been met and get the customer’s confirmation of this
  • Ensure that arrangements for the support and operation of the project’s products are in place (where appropriate)
  • Request formal acceptance of the products from the Project Board
  • If the project has been closed prematurely, document what has been achieved and recommend the way forward
  • Identify any Follow-on Action Recommendations
  • Capture and document lessons resulting from the project
  • Prepare an End Project Report
  • Plan any post-project review required
  • Prepare notification to the host location of the intention to disband the project organisation and resources
  • Arrange secure and orderly archiving of the project’s records

This process covers the Project Manager’s work to close the project either at its end or at a premature close.
Much of the work is preparing information to present to the Project Board to obtain its confirmation that the project may close.

If there is a premature close this process will have to be tailored to the situation of the project.

This will involve:

  • What can be saved for use in another project?
  • What remedial work is required to fill in any gaps due to project closure?

The Project Initiation Document is checked to compare the actual results of the project against the original expectations (or as modified by the Project Board).
All planned products should have been approved and delivered to the customer or be ready for handover.
There must be documented confirmation from the customer that all Acceptance Criteria, defined at the outset of the project, have been met.

The Project Manager prepares an End Project Report that comprehensively evaluates the actual project result versus that envisaged in the Project Initiation Document.

There may be a number of Project Issues that were put in suspension by the Project Board.
These may lead to new project or enhancements to the products of the current project during its operational life.
The Project Manager sorts these out into appropriate Follow-on Action Recommendations.

The Lessons Learned Log, which has been developed during the project, is now turned into a report and made available outside the project.

Notification to the host location that any provided facilities and resources will no longer be required is prepared for Project Board approval, including release dates.

Archiving of the management documents should be arranged, such that any later audit or retrieval can be done conveniently.

The Product Descriptions for the management products described in this process can be found in the product package.


For small projects the essentials can be summarised as:

  • Check that everything has been delivered
  • Check that the product is accepted
  • Make sure there are no loose ends
  • Record any Follow-on Action Recommendations
  • Store the project records for audit
  • Release resources as required

Where the Project Approach indicates a phased handover or implementation of the product(s) it may be worth giving consideration to undertaking some aspects of Closing a Project, in particular:

  • Customer acceptance
  • Operational and maintenance acceptance
  • Outstanding Project Issues and
  • Risks associated with the implemented elements and
  • Possibly a review of the Lessons Learned.

In this event these elements would form part of the phased implementation work, which may well coincide with a stage boundary.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.