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How to Close a ‘Surprise TKO’ Project

Despite months of hard work, there is always the unfortunate chance that your project can come to an abrupt, shocking end for various reasons. Harry Hall refers to a blindside like this as a “technical knockout.” In a post for the Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall gives eight steps on how to close your project:

  1. Lead the team.
  2. Gather the troops.
  3. Evaluate the project.
  4. Review the risk register.
  5. Archive the documentation.
  6. Pay the invoices.
  7. Thank the team.
  8. Reassign human resources.

Zoom! Pow!

It’s not how you lead when everything is going great that counts, but how you rise from the ashes in adversity. How you lead and handle this situation will show people what you are made of. Express empathy and give praise on your team members’ good work. Then give clear instructions for the close of the project. It is also best if the project sponsor is present and making the announcement. Your team will have the opportunity to ask questions and get direct feedback from the sponsor who best understands the reasons for the project closing.

After your team has had time to process this project closing, schedule a time to evaluate the project. Look back at goals and the timeline and see what things lined up and where you may have fallen sort. Talk about what you would do differently given the chance to do it again. And about the risk register, Hall says this:

At project closure, the project manager should review and update every risk in the risk register with information such as:

-Did not occur

-Occurred and impacted the project schedule, budget, or quality

-Occurred and the contingency plan was executed

Archive all documentation and information pertaining to the project, and make sure all financial matters are wrapped up. Lastly, express formal gratitude to your team, perhaps with lunch, and then free them up to be assigned to a new project.

You can access the original post here:

About Melissa Colon

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Melissa is a staff writer for AITS, with a background in journalism. She has previously written for York Dispatch and York Daily Record.

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