Approaches to Project Closures

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A well planned project closure ensures that a project is brought to to a controlled end.
A well planned project closure ensures that a project is brought to to a controlled end. (Image: Paul Sutherland/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The closure phase of a project signals the end of activity across all project management groups. The project closure process verifies and documents project deliverables, coordinates formal acceptance of deliverables by the project sponsor and, if necessary, investigates the reasons that a project is terminated before its completion. The administrative closure procedure, contract closure procedure, financial closure procedure and organizational closure procedure are elements of the closure phase of a project.

Contractural Closure

The contractual closure of a project necessitates the completion of any remaining activities required by the contract. The procedure requires product verification to ensure that work was performed satisfactorily and that remaining administrative tasks be defined. In addition, project results are documented and the documents archived. The standard procedures are adjusted if the project is terminated due to either the inability to deliver a product or budget overruns. This procedure is the responsibility of the project manager and contract administrator.

Administrative Closure

The administrative closure of a project requires the documentation of the activities of project team members and stakeholders. The agreement regarding stakeholder approval for changes, the confirmation of project deliverables and the validation of compliance with completion criteria are formalized. The administrative closure procedure also requires that project records be archived and that lessons learned be documented, analyzed and incorporated in project standards if appropriate. The project manager is responsible for the administrative closure of a project.

Financial Closure

The financial closure of a project requires the completion of project-related financial transactions, the closure of financial accounts, the disposal of project assets and the release of the project work site. In addition, final project costs are established and compared to budgeted costs. This procedure also requires the notification of both project staff and vendors of a deadline date for the completion of financial transactions. In addition, the project manager confirms that acceptance criteria have been met by vendors prior to issuance of payments.

Organizational Closure

The project manager accomplishes the organizational closure by making staff changes and shifting personnel responsibilities. Some staff is either released or transferred to new projects while other personnel assume ongoing maintenance and operations roles. During this process, the project manager provides feedback regarding staff performance and assumes an active role in identifying new assignments for project employees.

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