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Phase 4: Close Out

Finally, the last phase of the project management lifecycle—closure and transition—begins. This is where deliverables, products, and documentation are organized and handed over to the proper parties. Additionally, any teams that contributed to the project attend a final gathering to discuss important insights and celebrate the project’s completion.

The closure phase also enables you and your team to:

  • Tie up any loose ends
  • Take stock of project insights
  • Move on with a clearly defined sense of accomplishment
  • Archive lessons learned for the benefit of your team/organization

When performing your project closeout, one needs to review the entire project from beginning to end. Start with the Project Charter and Project Scope to refresh your memory and end with stakeholder signoffs to confirm completion. In the interim, review all your tasks. Once all tasks have been reviewed, you should confirm that all your deliverables have been met. Lastly, and most importantly, one should communicate to all team members that your project has come to conclusion. The steps below will aid in properly performing a UHD PMO closeout:

  1. Review the Project Charter and Project Scope
  2. Collect and review documents:
    • Project records
    • Spreadsheets, punch lists, or other items provided by the team
    • Specs provided by the vendor, contracts (these may not be available or may be classified, referencing these will suffice)
    • Change orders and handoffs (double check that these are completed)
  3. Make note of any items that were removed or left out and note the reason for such, e.g., if removed due to being added to another project, or phase; removed due to an event or substitution; or if no longer needed
  4. Get director's approval for closeout
  5. Send stakeholder approval for closeout
  6. Conduct the final team meeting (which is an excellent time to capture Lessons Learned)
    • Recap items that were recently closed, i.e., change requests or punch list items
    • Recall and finish any items leftover from the last team meeting (refer to meeting minutes)
    • Formally announce that there will no longer be any expenses approved for this project (this may not apply to all UHD PMO projects)
    • If the meeting will be used to discuss Lessons Learned, be sure to ask the following:
      • What parts of the project went exceptionally well?
      • What parts of the project need to be improved?
      • Should any part of the project have been moved to another project?
      • Are there any additional comments you would like to add?
    • If the team cannot take part in a Lessons Learned meeting, follow up with a questionnaire that is quick and convenient to complete through an email
    • Formally announce that the project is closed
  7. Send closeout email to team members
  8. Make your project file (this may be a digital record and/or an actual paper file)

The closeout process requires a complete review of the project which provides an opportunity to fully analyze the project. Since it is being done afterward, one has the benefit of a fresh look and objectivity after having the time to detach from the project. The closeout provides a time to reflect on the activities and make constructive critiques, which can be documented and extremely useful to aid in future projects.

Templates Description
Lessons Learned Identifies what went well or what needs to be improved about the project.