The practice of project close-out finalizes all project activities completed across all phases of the project to formally close the project and transfer the completed or cancelled project as appropriate. According to the PMBOK, the close project or phase is the process of finalizing all activities across all of the management process groups to formally complete the project or phase (2008, p.65). When closing a project, PMs will review all prior information from the previous phase to ensure that all requirements are met. The Project Closeout Phase is the last phase in the project lifecycle. Closeout begins when the user accepts the project deliverables and the project oversight authority concludes that the project has met the goals established. The major focus of project closeout is administrative closure and logistics. Project closeout includes the following key elements:
• Turnover of project deliverables to operations
• Redistributing resources—staff, facilities, equipment, and automated systems
• Closing out financial accounts
• Completing, collecting, and archiving project records
• Documenting the successes of the project
• Documenting lessons learned
• Planning for Post Implementation Review
Activities and Documents in the Closeout Phase
The major activities in the Closeout Phase are shown in the diagram below, (Figure 1.1) consist of tasks that are typically administrative and logistical in nature. Initially, the focus is on performing the tasks associated with dispensing and reconciling personnel, property, and funding. When these tasks are finished, the attention of the project manager is focused on documentation of lessons learned and project closure. At some predetermined point, a Post Implementation Review of the project deliverables is conducted. The primary documents prepared during this phase include the Project Transition Checklist, Project Closeout Report, and Post Implementation Report. Figure 1.1
Project Closeout Task
The purpose of project closeout is to assess the project, ensure completion, and derive any lessons learned and best practices to be applied to future projects. However, in multi-phase projects, the close-out practice may be applied at various stages of the project; upon deliverable completion, upon phase completion, upon iteration completion, at designated times during the project’s life, or at whatever other juncture represents a completed segment of project work. Applying the close-out practice in this manner closes out only the portion of the project scope and associated activities applicable to that portion of the project. Close out check list
An experienced project manager should provide a check list of issues which should be covered when closing out any project. Fleming further states that the following documentation should be preserved on any project: -project office (PO) and Project Team Organization
-Instructions and procedures
-Plans, Budgets and Schedules
-Work Authorization and Control
-Project Evaluation and Control
-Management and Contract Reporting
-Marketing and Contract Administration
-Purchasing and Subcontracting Liaison and Policies
-Site Operations (2003, p.236)
Turnover to Operations
According to Fleming, the best way for any procurement to end is to have the seller completely satisfy the statement of work, make all deliveries as specified, and comply with all provisions of the contract (2003, p.227 ).The most important aspect of project closeout is the physical turnover of control of the product, good, or service delivered by the project. All project deliverables will need to be maintained and supported after the project team disbands. An operational unit of the organization (for which the deliverable is developed) assumes responsibility for the support of the deliverable. Procedures for this turnover and acceptance by the operational unit must be determined. Turnover and acceptance activities include but are not limited to knowledge transfer, documentation transfer, and physical transfer of the deliverable. A formal acknowledgement of receipt (acceptance) of the project deliverable is executed by the operations and project managers. Administrative Closure
Administrative closure involves the preparation of administrative documentation, collection of project documentation, disposition of project documents, and logistics activities that ensure that the project resources are redistributed. Administrative closure includes, but is not limited to, task such as archiving, financial account closure, facilities turnover (or closure), contract closure, and personnel reassignment. Collecting Project Archive Data – Historic project data is an important source of information to help improve future projects. Typically, the following project data is archived: • Project notebook
• Project concept document
• Project Charter
• Project Plan
• Project management and oversight review records
• Meeting notes
• Status reports
• Contract file
• Technical documents, files, program, tools, etc.
All records should be stored following Commonwealth of Virginia record retention guidelines. Summary technical information should be electronically stored for historical reference to facilitate later review. The project archive should include a description of the files being submitted, the application (including version) used to create the archived materials, and a point of contact. Personnel – If personnel have been committed to the project full-time, it is important to get the people back into the available resource pool as quickly as possible. This will ensure that the staff stays busy cutting down on slack time and that other projects within the organization do not fall short of resources. In some cases, employee performance reports or other documentation must be prepared for personnel assigned to the project manager. The project manager must also ensure that each employee’s project hours have been accounted for and charged to the project. Facilities – If the project team has occupied agency facilities for a long period of time during the project, it is a good idea to let the controlling facilities personnel know that the space used for the project will become available again.
Be sure to check facilities guidance documentation to determine whether changes made to the project team area (structure, equipment, or technical modifications) are the responsibility of the project team after the project is complete. Returning the facility and equipment to its original state could add unanticipated cost and manpower to a project. Financial Account Closure – Financial closure is the process of completing and terminating the financial and budgetary aspects of the project. Financial closure includes both (external) contract closure and (internal) project account closure. All expenditures must be accounted for and reconciled with the project account. When financial closure is completed, all expenditures made during the project have been paid as agreed to in purchase orders, contracts, or inter-agency agreements. Contract closure is the process of terminating contracts with external organizations or businesses. These contracts may be vehicles for providing technical support, consulting, or any number of services supplied during the project that the agency decided not to perform with internal resources.
Contracts can be brought to closure for a variety of reasons, including contract completion, early termination, or failure to perform. Contract closure is a typical but important part of project management. It is a simple process, but close attention should be paid so that no room is left for liability of the agency. In order to close a contract it is important to collect all of the pertinent documentation for review. This will include all of the original contracts and supporting documentation such as schedules, contract changes, and performance reports. This documentation needs to be reviewed thoroughly to ensure there are no unrealized contract issues that could result in legal liability. A thorough review of the procurement and contracting documents must include contract milestones, services provided or deliverables and documentation delivered. To formally close a contract, the agency provides the contracted company or organization with a formal written notice stating the completion of the contract and reason for termination. Standard verbiage for acceptance and closure is usually found in the original contract itself. It is also a good idea to keep a complete set of contractual records for the project in a safe and accessible place in case they need to be referenced at any point in the future.
Lessons learned are the documentation of the experience gained during a project. These lessons come from working with or solving real-world problems. Lessons learned document identified problems and how to solve them. Lessons learned are gathered to help eliminate the occurrence of the same problems in future projects. Lessons learned typically provide: a brief discussion of the problem to identify its nature, source, and impact; site any references that provide additional detail (references may include project reports, plans, issue logs, change management documents); and general literature or guidance used from another source; and, recording the corrective actions taken and results. Lessons Learned Sessions
In addition to communicating the closure of a project in writing, it is also advisable to have a mechanism for group review. Lessons learned sessions are valuable closure and release mechanisms for team members, regardless of the project’s success. The lessons learned session is typically a meeting or a series of meetings that may include the following: • Project team
• Stakeholder representation—including external project oversight • Executive management
• Maintenance and operation staff
For a lessons learned session to be successful the problems encountered by the project team must be openly presented. It is important, however, that the problem discussions do not merely point a finger at some target other than the project team; responsibility and ownership for problem areas are critical to developing useful recommendations for future processes. Problems that were encountered should be prioritized with focus on the top five to ten problems. It is not necessary to document every small thing that happened. However, all legitimate problems and issues should be discussed as requested by customers or management. Lessons Learned Format
There are numerous formats for documenting lessons learned. Typically, each lesson learned is documented on a single page. The document should contain in its heading the name of the project, date, and point of contact for the lesson learned. The body should describe the lesson learned in the following paragraphs: • Statement of the Problem – Describe the problem that occurred. Provide sufficient detail to establish what happened. • Discussion – Describe in detail the cause and impact of the problem. • References – Provide any references used or other sources of information that may be helpful in understanding the problem or corrective actions. Corrective Actions – Identify what corrective actions were taken and discuss the results. If a corrective action was not taken, but became apparent later, identify this action as well. Project Closeout Transition Checklist
The Project Transition Checklist provides a vehicle to verify completion of a project phase before beginning the next phase. The transition checklist used at the closeout phase focuses on completion of project tasks and satisfying acceptance criteria. Additionally, the transition checklist forces the project team and using organization to address the issue transfer for both the deliverable and associated documentation. Project Closeout Transition Checklist is a list of questions that indicates necessary actions have been accomplished before completing the Project Closeout Report. The checklist provides a status column where the completion status of project elements is recorded (as one of the answers shown below). • Y = Item has been addressed and is completed.
• N = Item has not been addressed, and needs to be to complete the process.
• N/A = Item has not been addressed and is not related to this project. Comments or plans to complete items that have not been addressed are also documented on the checklist.
According to the ……… However, in order to understand the purpose of ……………………………… Nevertheless, the author notes …………………………. This paper analyzes the……………………. Furthermore, XYZ is described in details as an example in support of the analysis and conclusions. According to Fleming, just because the seller has made all the deliveries doesn’t necessarily mean that a procurement is completed. There are often residual issues which must be addressed. Topic I – BODY OF PAPER
As previously mentioned there are many ……………….., however,………………….. of risk for the seller and buyer (Project Management Institute [PMI], 2008). The PMI (2008) and Fleming (2003) both described the three major ………………. categories summarized below. 1.ABC: ………………
According to Fleming (2003), BODY OF DOCUMENT ……………………: 1.XXX: …………………..
TOPIC II (if applicable)
Insert Table: (if applicable)
XXX XXX FY2005* XXX
ABC $ %
XYZ $0. %
DEF $0. %
LMN $0. less than 1%
All other contracts $0. %
Federal Acquisition Regulation
Chen and Frame
Project Management Institute (2008). A Guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK Guide). (4th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: PMI.