The Seven Activities of Project Closeout

People go crazy when a TV show like Firefly or Agent Carter gets canceled, because their brains are hardwired to look for finality. But as it pertains to project closeout, finality is about more than satisfying one’s curiosity. It is about ensuring that the project has satisfied all of upper management’s requirements while the team is still assembled. In a post for the PM Perspectives Blog, Guy L. De Furia shares seven activities for a comprehensive closeout:

  1. Perform general project closeout.
  2. Perform client closeout.
  3. Perform organizational closeout.
  4. Conduct subcontractor closeout.
  5. Perform final risk assessment.
  6. Write project final report or briefing.
  7. Conduct team closeout.

A Happy Ending

De Furia recommends treating each of these activities as its own work package so that the team just continues to chug along as usual. It begins with the most basic and expected parts of the project closeout: Validate that work has been completed and requirements met according to the work breakdown structure, project charter, and any contracts. Next, confirm that clients have accepted project deliverables, and measure how satisfied they are with them with surveys. Team members who handle these activities can write short memos back to the project manager pertaining to each subtask.

The point of organizational closeout is to relinquish team resources back to the business, including office space and borrowed or rented equipment. Financial records should also be finalized to the financial department’s satisfaction. Additionally, De Furia says functional managers and stakeholders should be thanked for the unique contributions they made to the project’s success. Subcontractors should be treated largely the same, with final payment agreed upon and thank you letters sent.

Risks can continue to exist even after a project has concluded, so it is necessary to quantify those risks for the business moving forward. Team members might be instructed to record risks across a wide spectrum of situations, of which De Furia includes these: residual risks, deliverable transference, improper operation, training, maintenance, fielding, cash flow, organizational politics, constituency acceptance, and legal risks. Standard risk management strategies should be applied in all cases.

The project final report that follows should include information from all of the above steps, assisted by memos written by team members about each subtask. Beyond that, all that remains is giving a proper bon voyage to the project team. This includes a rigorous lessons learned session, writing letters of gratitude to team members and functional managers, and celebrating the end with some grub.

For an even more itemized account of these steps, you can view the original post here: http://www.esi-intl.co.uk/blogs/pmoperspectives/index.php/seven-activities-project-closeout/

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