Starting with a project is easy but wrapping it up effectively is tiresome and challenging. When it comes to project closure, we procrastinate or don’t do it all.
Truth be told, we mostly don’t find time and energy to properly put the whole project to bed. So, we tend to skip it.
However, project closure is pivotal to properly tie up loose ends and finish the project. Sometimes, these small loose ends tend to cause significant problems later on. Truthfully, no one likes to clean that mess.
So, it’s normal to be lazy about project closure, but don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered!
Since we understand that it is hard for you to take time out for effective project closure. So, here are 8 steps to ensure a quick, effective, and efficient project closure on a high-end deadline.
Therefore, put your projects to rest quickly and accurately to avoid future mishaps.
What is Project Closure?
Project closure can be defined as:
“The last or final stage of the project lifecycle that ultimately puts the whole project to an end.”
Thus, it includes any tasks included in wrapping up the whole project and archiving the documents and files.
Once project closure is completed, the stakeholders or clients will have all the final reports and deliverables required. Moreover, these reports will also prove beneficial to the team to reflect on their work done.
Now you must be wondering that once the project is done, why not just leave it there? Well, this is where you ought to know the importance of project closure.
Why should you close a project?
Project Closure is pivotal for all types of projects (small or big). Some significant reasons to close a project properly are:
- Authentication and Validation: It provides proof that you’ve officially completed the whole project and resolved all the issues as well.
- Learn from it: When you close the project effectively, you learn from the mistakes and avoid them in the future.
- Measure progress: It’s easy to measure your progress ratio and see where the errors occurred.
- Boost up growth: Once you close your project and reflect on the work done, you’ll improve your processes in the future and boost growth.
- Notice: A project closure works as an official notice or alert for the whole team about the successful execution and closure of the project.
What are the consequences of not closing a project?
Before we get into the steps to ensure speedy project closure, let’s first look at the possible scenarios that might occur when you don’t close a project properly.
1. No Accountability
When a project isn’t closed formally, there always remains an ambiguity with the authorities responsible for the project. No one will take responsibility as there is no legal documentation on it. Thus, per se, there is a problem in the future with the project deliverables.
Therefore, it is beneficial to legalize the matter and name the responsible parties for any discrepancies or losses.
2. No Official Hands-off
Another consequence that your company or team might face due to improper closure of a project is unofficial project hand-off. It is always promising to transfer all the documents and reports of the project to the client officially and transfer your responsibility.
You might think that delivering the final project is an official hand-off, but no! In most cases, companies face problems as there is no proof. By officially closing the document, you let the client and stakeholders understand that you and your team will no longer be held accountable for any discrepancies in the results.
3. No record-keeping
Lastly, the absence of project closure is the absence of maintaining records. Teams tend to delete tasks once they are done with them. Thus, having a project end report will save the team from losing records and boost effective archive maintenance.
8 Steps to Ensure Speedy Project Closure on a High-End Deadline
Don’t go into lengthy and time-consuming processes for project closure. Just keep it short and straightforward.
Here we’ve gathered a checklist that you can follow to ensure speedy project closure on a high-end deadline!
Step: 1 Formal Transfer of Power
The first step for speedy project closure is transferring all the deliverables to the client. Just because we used the word speedily doesn’t mean we have to hasten the whole process.
When you transfer ownership to the client, ensure that you go through all the necessary steps. These include:
- Make sure you’ve completed all the deliverables to be provided
- Let the client know about the unresolved issues
- Clear all the queries of the client
- Make a checklist of all the deliverables delivered
This step is crucial because it’s like an official hands-off of all the deliverables to the client and transfer of responsibility.
Step:2 Complete all the documents and contracts
The second step to speedy project closure is to organize all the documents and arrange them in order. Mostly there are countless documents associated with a project; therefore, it is mandatory to properly finish them.
So, make the whole team review all the documents and proof check for any errors. Moreover, make sure all the documents are up-to-date with the actual results.
Verify the contract clauses and ensure that they are congruent with the project deliverables.
Some of the essential documents to review would be:
- Assumption Log: It records all the assumptions and project estimations.
- Issue Log: A record of all the issues in the project.
- Change Log: A record of all the changes made throughout the project lifecycle
- Estimation Log: It records the estimated project cost, time, resources, and tasks with the actual time spent.
- Requirements Document: A list of all the requirements given by the stakeholder.
- Risk Reports: A complete analysis of the risks that occurred and how they were addressed.
- Project Communication: Record all the communication channels used.
- Scope Documents: A record of the actual project scope vs. the predicted one.
Once you’re done reviewing the authenticity of all the documents, move to the next step.
Step:3 Settle Payments
The next step would be to review all the financial documents. Review payments, outstanding balance, invoices, commission, fees, etc. Note any discrepancies and other variances to optimize your budget for future use.
Thus, make sure all the deliverables are paid to all the resources (direct or indirect) in the project development process.
Step:4 Gather Feedback
Hold a retrospective meeting with the whole team involved in the project for effective feedback. Such a post-mortem process would help analyze where the team went wrong and which steps to take for future improvements.
So, learn from the work done to ensure success in the future.
Some important areas to discuss in your retro meetings are:
- Which steps helped in the success of the project?
- What were the risks and issues?
- How reasonable were cost estimations?
- What improvements to bring in the future?
Such discussion will help you to choose a better track for your next project and optimize your processes.
Step:5 Stakeholder’s satisfaction ratio
Once you gather effective feedback from your team, the next step is to measure the client’s satisfaction ratio. Get the necessary feedback on whether all the requirements were met or not. Moreover, if he’s satisfied with the final product or not.
Step:6 Project Closure Report
The next step is to prepare a project closure report. This report should summarize all the project’s essential details, including timeline, objectives, risks, estimates, and outcomes.
Here are some quick essentials to include in your project closure report:
- Project overview and a summary statement
- Overview of the results and outcomes of the project
- Describe the project scope
- Describe the project schedule
- Jot down the project costs
- Project performance analysis
- Risks and issues that occurred
- Any lessons learned during its implementation
- Any recommendations for the future
All these bullet points would help you write an effective project closure report. However, be careful while writing down the details to avoid pitfalls later on.
Step:7 Official project sign-off
Once you’re done with the project closure report, it’s time to officially close the project. Make formal announcements to the whole team and stakeholders involved in the closure of the project.
Moreover, ensure that all documents, including the project closure report, are formally approved and signed off by the parties concerned. Such official signing off saves you from any future mishaps and blame games.
Step:8 Archive and Celebrate
Now that you’re done with all the procedures archive all the documents in your project management software for future references. Moreover, removing the workspace from the dashboard also helps the teams to know that the project has been closed and archived on official grounds.
Lastly, raise a glass to toss the completion of the project.
At the end of the day
Now you must’ve realized the importance of a proper project closure to tie all the loose ends.
No matter how successful you’ve completed your project, formal closing is necessary to give you an organized place for review and implement future improvements.
Use the checklist and the ideas mentioned in this post to ensure speedy project closure on a high-end deadline.