Any project as per its definition is a temporary endeavor and it must be closed for further operations.
The project closure signifies the end of project and starting of operation theoretically, but in actual practice the operations team starts taking over the project before its completion, and some cosmetic construction works, or the left-over works continue even after start of operations.
These operations and works are of non-interfering nature and overlapping most of the time. But there must be a dead line for overlapping period in between the two and it is mentioned in the project closure report, if required.
Project Closure is an important part of project management processes but is overlooked by the project team as it has no home or the lack of interest of management, particularly if business expansion is not required especially in small business operations and small organizations. Or the organization is in hurry to take new ventures or the project is not successful to the desired extent. It happens if the objective of the project, gets linked to project deliverable only in reference to cost and time overrun.
Project closing is the part of project management process group and it should be given the same importance as other process groups.
Project if not closed:
1-Reduces the credibility and responsibility of the project team
2-Organisations may not have guidance for its business expansion
3-Related projects may have risks by not sharing the Project Closure report
There are two process of project closure: The Procurement Closure and the Administrative Closure.
PMBBOK GUIDE ON PROJECT CLOSING
According to A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “The Project Closing Process Group consists of those processes performed to conclude all activities across all Project Management Process Groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations. This process group, when completed, verifies that the defined processes are completed within all of the Process Groups to close the project of phase, as appropriate, and formally establishes that the project or project phase is complete”
Some tips for closing project
Project Management consists of managing all process groups of all knowledge areas. All knowledge areas are planned initially and incorporate subsequent amendments in them, if amended during execution. In closing operation, it is to be ensured that project is complete as planned, knowledge area wise.
Project need closure, be it successful or not successful to the desired objective or without achievement of objective. In all these positions it is necessary to know at closing stage the status of project with respect to baseline.
A closure of the project is a formal orderly end of the project activities. The contents of the closure report are used in taking up the next project or benchmarking the existing project or for providing solution to the ongoing projects. Once the project is closed the formal acceptance is taken from the stakeholders
Closure may be of the phase of project or project.
Closing exercise is done at predetermined time or at the end of processes or project.
Project closure requirements include
Closing of contracts
Resources reassignment details
Transfer of Knowledge to operation team
The processes require (as for all processes) the inputs, the tools and techniques, and the outputs, and these depends on the nature and type of the project, as project is unique.
The process guidelines are addressed in PMBOK Guide and may be adopted and customized as per need. The excerpts from the book are given below:
Project management Plan (all Knowledge Area Plans such as Cost, Time, Quality. Communication. Risk, Procurement and others)
Basis of Estimates
Miles Stone List
Quality Control Measurements
Benefit Management Plan
Organization Process Assets
Tools and techniques
Project Document Updates
Lessons Learned Register
Final Project (Product, Service. Results, Transition Knowledge)
Organization Processes Assets Report
During the process of project execution, the project documents are maintained and updated as the ongoing works or activities are completed. This is necessary as later it may not be possible to recoup the data and information (the project team may not have a home during completion stage of the project). At the time of closure, the contents of these documents are finalized.
The lesson learnt during the project execution are also finalized and it becomes an important document of project closure process. The lesson learned contents may include scope management, change controls, issues and their resolutions, risks and other knowledge area controls specifying the important steps taken which were not envisaged during the planning stage.
A project after the closure, is transferred to operations and maintenance team of the customer or organization itself. An overlap in the project and operation team on timeline is desirable, as it facilitates the smooth transition by better understanding the project deliverables and operation requirement.
It describes the business case outcomes, the charter envisaged status, with variations for scope management, cost, time, resources, quality objectives and other Knowledge Area important variations, issues and resolution along with status of Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Some important terms defined in brief
The assumption logs are of two types: high level and low-level assumptions.
Assumptions are anything / parameter in project management / business management, which are not known with definiteness, but these are accepted as true or certain to carry forward planning of knowledge area activities.
These assumptions are verified during project life cycle and as such a log is maintained, so that assumptions are not missed from verification for final acceptance. In business case, the assumptions are considered as high level and in project life cycle are considered as low level.
When going for planning knowledge areas, for so many actions, parameters are assumed for planning in first stage and later when the assumption is not found correct, it is rectified to the desired extent during the project life cycle, be it in business case or project definition.