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