How do you close your projects?

Closing a project is the process of “finalising all activities across all of the Project Management Process Groups to formally complete the project or phase” according to the Project Management Institute’s PMBOK® Guide.  But what does this mean?

Some projects are closed when the objectives or goals have been met, others have to finish without such objectives being met – possibly a due to poor results in the lab/clinic, or lack of funding.

Whether the project objectives are fulfilled or not at closure, you should perform the following activities, including all key stakeholders (affected/interested parties) in the process:

  • Review whether objectives have been achieved – if objectives have not been achieved it is important here to state “why”.
  • Capture Lessons Learned – particularly useful if the project has closed before completion.
  • Formalise the closure of the project, in documentation  form.
  • Release all resources for use on other projects.
  • Archive project information for future use.

We also recommend this process is undertaken when managing projects that are external to the business. So, for example, you should inform a service provider of the formal closure of the project by writing them a project closure notice/letter, referring to your legal agreement (where applicable) to ensure it is absolutely clear no more work is to be performed. It is also helpful to agree in this project closure document what outstanding monies are owed, to ensure both parties are clear on this, prior to final payments being made.

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By Dr Hanna Dickenson

Managing Director of Dickenson Consulting Ltd.
Biopharmaceutical/Pharmaceutical Project Management & Outsourcing/Contractor Management

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