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Project closure checklist

How to close a project with PRINCE2

The last phase of a project is project closure. It’s here that the project is formally closed and the Project Board receive a report on its overall success. Here, you’ll find out why this process is so important and how to do it correctly.

What is project closure?

According to PRINCE2, the objectives of the project closure process are to:

  • Verify client acceptance of the project’s products.
  • Make sure that the products can be supported once the project is disbanded.
  • Review the project’s performance by comparing to baseline documents.
  • Assess and review the benefits to the project that have been realised, and the benefits that will be realised once the project has been completed.
  • Work on any risks and issues that remain open by following up on recommended actions.

Why is project closure important?

It might seem like the least important process, since it doesn’t cover any of the actual project work. However, there are three big benefits to ending a project the right way.

  1. A formal closure is also a clear closure, which means you can properly hand over the project and responsibility to the client.
  2. It lets you disband the project team, so the project doesn’t incur further costs.
  3. It ensures the project met all the original objectives. It also teaches lessons by identifying and addressing any objectives that weren’t achieved.

Project closure checklist

Below is an easy-to-follow checklist to closing a project. This ensures all elements of the project closure phase have been completed.

Deliverables – to reach the end of the project and start the closure process, the project manager hands over the documentation for the stakeholders to sign off.

Follow-on Action Recommendations – these are given to the people who will support the products after the lifespan of the project.

Update these documents:

Configuration Item Record

Benefits Management Approach

Lessons Report

End Project Report

Documentation – organise, file and archive all the project documents in the previous checkpoint. Make sure they’re all updated to the latest date and document owner. The easier it is to search and retrieve a document, the more useful it will be as a reference for future projects. Make sure they’re signed off by the appropriate person.

Finances – pay off any remaining invoices and close any project-related contracts that are still open.

Resources – the project’s resources, from equipment to people, should be released from the project. If they’re owned or employed by the company, reassign them to another project.

End Project Report

While you can create most documents earlier in the project, you can only start the End Project Report during closure. You can present this report as a document, email, presentation or embed it into a shared project management tool.

The End Project Report is made up of other documents:

  • Project Initiation Documentation
  • Business Case
  • Project Plan
  • Benefits Management Approach
  • Issue Register
  • Quality Register
  • Risk Register
  • Lessons Report

Together, they cover these points:

  1. The project manager’s overview of its successes and failures
  2. Review of the Business Case
  3. Review of the objectives – targets and strategies
  4. Review of the products
  5. Review of the team performance
  6. Lessons Report

The project manager provides the Project Board with this report. They evaluate it to finally authorise the closure. If you’ve kept the other reports up-to-date, project closure won’t take too long. It is worth it, though. Your products will have better support and the lessons learned can inform future projects.