Prince2 header
products page

PRINCE2 - Closing a Project (CP) part 2

Decommissioning a Project (CP1)

Fundamental principles

The main principles are that:

  • Every project should come to an orderly close
  • Customer and supplier should be in agreement that the project has delivered what was expected; this expectation should have been defined at the outset of the project
  • Everyone who has provided support for the project should be warned of its close, so that they can plan for the return of the resources provided for that support
  • Project records should be retained to assist with possible audits or the production of estimating metrics


This sub-process is normally triggered by Reviewing Stage Status (CS5), when the Project Manager recognises that the project is nearing the end of the final stage.

CP1 is part of the work leading to the Project Board sub-process, 'Confirming Project Closure (DP5)'.

Closing a Project (CP) will cycle round the three sub-processes for which there is no specific sequence.

In exceptional cases the sub-process may be used because the Project Board directs the Project Manager to close the project before its planned end.

Process description

The objectives are:

  • Ensure that all the project’s products have been approved and handed over to the customer or user
  • Confirm that the delivered products meet any needs defined in the customer’s specification for operation and support (where applicable)
  • Confirm that the correct operation and maintenance environment is in place (where applicable)
  • Confirm that all Acceptance Criteria have been met
  • Complete and store all project information
  • Prepare a recommendation to all involved organisations and interested parties that the project is to be closed, and facilities and resources disbanded.

The Project Manager prepares the project closure recommendation to the Project Board that the project resources and the support services can be disbanded. The Project Manager should consult the Communication Plan to ascertain whether any other parties require a copy of the project closure recommendation and act accordingly. The project closure recommendation has to be confirmed by the Project Board.

Before closure of the project can be recommended, the Project Manager must ensure that the expected results have all been achieved and delivered (or have been told by the Project Board that the project is to be closed prematurely).

Configuration Item Records are reviewed and a configuration audit is carried out to confirm that all products have been approved and the Configuration Management Plan consulted on how to hand over products.

Where a product has to be supported and sustained during its useful life, there must be confirmation in the form of operational and maintenance acceptance by the people who will use and support it that they have received the product in a state that allows them to carry out their duties.

The Project Manager must go through the Acceptance Criteria with the customer and obtain agreement that all criteria have been met.

To permit any future audit of the project’s actions and performance, the project files should be secured and archived.
This entails an important task of weeding out documents that would not be useful to those who may need to access the archive files, for example, audit, the Project Support Office, future Project Managers (for planning models) and those who later carry out the post-project review.
It is wise to have the weeding done by a group consisting of the Project Manager, Project assurance and Project Support.


The Project Manager is responsible for this sub-process, but many need assistance from Project Support (including the Configuration Librarian) to gather the necessary input.

The Project Manager should have informal contact with Project Assurance during this time for their views on the completeness of work to ensure that there will be no problems with Project Board confirmation of the project closure in 'Confirming Project Closure (DP5)'.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Project Initiation DocumentInputContains a statement of the project’s Acceptance Criteria.
Configuration Item RecordsInputTo be checked for completeness and input to the Product Status Account.
Project Status AccountInputConfirmation from the customer’s configuration management records that all products are approved.
Configuration Management PlanInputTo confirm how products are to be handed over to the configuration library of those who will maintain the product in its operational life.
Configuration PlanInputThe trigger from stage monitoring that the normal end of the project is near.
Issue LogInputCheck if all Project Issues have been closed.
Trigger for premature closeInputInstruction from the Project Board to close the project before its expected end.
Notification of project endInputThe trigger from stage monitoring that the normal end of the project is near.
Communication PlanInputIdentification of any other interested party who needs to know.
Customer acceptanceOutputConfirmation that the customer accepts the products.
Operational and maintenance acceptanceOutputConfirmation that the product can be operated and supported.
Project closure recommendationOutputA note to be sent to the Project Board stating that the project is about to close and that supplied facilities and resources will no longer be needed. The Communication Plan should be consulted to ascertain any other recipients.
Management informationArchivePreserve the important and useful project records for future use by auditors or other enquiries.

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘CP1 decommissioning a project.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

  • Have all products in the Project Initiation Document been approved and delivered?
  • Have the operational and support teams formally agreed that they are ready to accept handover (if appropriate)?
  • Are the project resources and support services (if any were provided) no longer required?
  • Are there any contractual implications when decommissioning the project?

The configuration management system used on the project to control and record the status of products should check that all products are complete and handed over.

Where the final product will require a lot of potentially expensive maintenance, the Project Manager should ensure that a suitable service agreement or contract has been drawn up between the support group and the end users.
In such instances, it may be correct to include the agreement as a project product.
This will probably lead to a small team from the operations group being part of the final stages of the project, leading to the delivery of a signed agreement.

The support group would need full information abut the product as it is developed (see the Communication Plan in the Product Description as given in file ‘Communication plan.doc’ in the product package) to understand the support and maintenance implications of the product and its working environment.

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.