PROJECT or PHASE CLOSURE
Project Closure or Phase Closure: The process of finalizing all activities to formally complete a project, or a phase of a project.
OVERCOMING the OBSTACLES of closing a project or phase
The KEY to closing your project or phase successfully is to start a mini-project of
the few remaining things to be done, and close the original main project as much as possible.
Do you see how the mini-project approach solves the obstacles you can encounter in closure? Let's review these:
Open the Bill of Rights page and leave it open.
i) Obstacle:The picture is so big that people lose focus on the small amount of work
remaining to be done.
i) Solution: That project is finished. The new (mini-project) is much smaller with its
own Scope, Time, and Cost to manage.
ii) Obstacle: Team members lose motivation because most of the challenge is gone.
ii) Solution: a) There are now new challenges found in starting a new project
b) You might be starting with a new team; a team which enjoys the
challenge of closing a project or phase. (Bill of Rights, bullet #6)
c) On large construction projects it is common to have a completion
team, a verification team and a start-up team, for expertise. Using
this principle, even with the same people, show your team that the
mini-project is a new beginning, (and performance will be evaluated
on this phase separately).
iii) Obstacle: Team members “drag on” the work because they don’t want the project
iii) Solution: a) The old project is done. Close out work orders, purchase orders,
and any other authorizations that permit expenses.
b) Re-issue small orders as needed to complete the mini-project.
c) Be sure to advise Stakeholders of your actions, but as the Project
Manager, you have the right and obligation to close and open
orders (Bill of Rights, bullet #3)
iv) Obstacle: Your project has become the "slush fund against which everyone
charges their miscellaneous time and expenses.
iv) Solution: This solution is the same as (Solution iii). above.
v) Obstacle: Everyone wants to be involved; especially those who were never on the
v) Solution: a) That’s probably a good sign. Everyone wants to be part of a winning
team. Consider this as a compliment but continue to be the Project
b) If the project has gone poorly, remember, you are starting over with a
new mini-project. Use the assistance that is beneficial and dismiss
the rest, just like any other time. (again Bill of Rights, bullet #6).
vi) Obstacle: You try to close out the project only to find that the client says you’re
not finished. OR
You can’t seem to ever close out the project because the client says
you’re not finished.
Vi) Solution: a) The mini-project allows you to focus in on the small part that is
not finished. This is not a time for scope creep; but a time to
zero in on what was originally agreed to (Bill of Rights bullet #1)
b) NOTE: If the client insists on adding scope, open another new
project. To the client it may all be part of one project but as
Project Manager, you will treat them as separate entities.
vii) Obstacle: The client wants to run the plant (or operation or other project deliverable) on your project budget
vii) Solution: a) In the planning stage of your mini-project you make a clear definition
to what is included and what is excluded from the scope of work.
This is relatively small scope is easier to focus on than the entire
project. Stick to the mini-project plan. (Bill of Rights, bullet #1)
b) Sometimes this issue is about quality or quantity (output) of
the finished project. In your planning stage you define the
Verifications, Start-up, Performance parameters and methods
of measurement that would indicate successful completion.
Again, stick to the plan as you manage the mini-project. (Bill of
AGAIN: At this end stage, If the client insists on adding scope to your
project, you should open a whole new project, and manage it
viii) Obstacle: You built it but no one knows how to use it.
viii) Solution: In the Planning stage of your whole project, you discussed the need
for Training, and Manuals, and agreed on what was included. Stick
to the plan as you plan the mini-project. (Bill of Rights, bullet #1)
ix) Obstacle: You’re getting pressure from your boss to start another large project.
ix) Solution: a) The mini-project shows more clearly what remains to be
done. If your boss (or client or sponsor) wants to eliminate any
items from the Scope of your mini-project you can point them out
and discuss them. Then follow the boss.
b) See obstacle (iii) above. Maybe that’s you.
CLEAN UP ACTIVITIES:
For a final list of activities for a professional clean up to your project,
click the blue button
Click on any photo to get to a project step