Closing a Project    

  • Basics
  • Process overview
  • Activities
  • Documents
  • Relation to principles
  • Relation to themes

You must know and understand:

  • The purpose of Closing a Project
  • The activities
  • The documents relevant to this process
The purpose of the Closing a Project process is to provide a fixed point at which acceptance for the project product is confirmed, and to recognize that objectives set out in the original Project Initiation Documentation have been achieved (or approved changes to the objectives have been achieved), or that the project has nothing more to contribute.
The objective of the Closing a Project process is to:
  • Verify user acceptance of the project's products
  • Ensure that the host site is able to support the products when the project is disbanded
  • Review the performance of the project against its baselines
  • Assess any benefits that have already been realized, update the forecast of the remaining benefits, and plan for a review of those unrealized benefits
  • Ensure that provision has been made to address all open issues and risks, with follow-on action recommendations.

One of the PRINCE2 principles is "learn from experience". At the end of the project it is time to look back on it, to prepare the end report and to take stock of the lessons that can be learned from the project. To this end the Project Manager has to draft two documents: the End Project Report and the Lessons Report. .

Every project should be closed carefully, even when closed prematurely. At the end of the project the products' formal delivery and acceptance should be arranged and it should be ensured that the products can be commisioned and maintained.

All outstanding issues known from the Issue Register should be adressed.

Finally, an overview of the status of the benefits should be drawn up: which are allready realised, how is the outlook for benefits not yet realised and in which way shall on a later date be investigated how the project as a whole has contributed to the intended benefits..

Prepare planned closure

When closing a project the Project Manager should at first be able to determine if all intended goals have been reached.

To this end he must:

  • Update the Project Plan with actuals;
  • Determine if all products have been delivered and accepted against the stated quality criteria, and if concessions have been granted;
  • Determine if the project has delivered everything stated in the Project Product Description;
  • Ask for permission to notify the organization (or the program) that resources can be released.

The Project Manager may ask the project's configuration manager to produce a Product Status Account indicating the status of all the project's products. This overview is generated from the Configuration Item Records that hold the specifics of all products.

Hand over products
Finally all products to be delivered by the project must end up with the user and it has to be determined wether, after the project, any work is needed to finalize products. PRINCE2 does not recognize an "aftercare stage", but advised to use the CP process to ensure that all activities necessary for maintenance and support are taken care of.

In this activity the project should:

  • Prepare follow-on activities to resolve issues related to the products;
  • Update the Benefits Review Plan to ensure that activities have been planned to measure benefits that will only be realised after the project;
  • Ensure that prerequisites for operational use, maintenance and support are met, especially for the near future. Maintenance contracts should be prepared and concluded here;
  • Gain acceptance from the departments responsible for maintenance and support;
  • Get all formal acceptance documents.
Prepare premature closure

Even projects that are closed prematurely need to be closed carefully. Doing this it transpires what has in fact been achieved, which steps should be taken next and what the project's financial situation is.
PRINCE2 advises:

  • Update the Project Plan with the actuals;
  • Produce a Product Status Account that shows:
    • Which products have been finished and accepted and should be safeguarded;
    • Which products are still in development;
    • For which products concessions have been granted;
    • Which products could be of use to other projects.
  • Determine what work is needed to develop unfinished products to a state in which they can be safeguarded.
  • Ask for permission to notify the organization (or the program) that resources can be released.
Evaluate the project
One of the PRINCE2 principles is "learn from experience". At the end of the project it is time to look back on it, to prepare the end report and to take stock of the lessons that can be learned from the project. To this end the Project Manager has to draft two documents: the End Project Report and the Lessons Report.
Recommend project closure

Finally the Project Manager will notify the Project Board that the project can be closed. It is up to the board wether or not to agree with this.

The last activities for the Project Manager are:

  • Using the Communication Management Strategy determine which parties should be notified of the project's closure;
  • Close the registers;
  • Archive all project documentation, so a future audit can be performed;
  • Prepare a draft project closure notification and send this to the board.
The Project Board's final assurance responsibility is to ascertain that in fact all conditions for project closure have been met. Then the board can take it's final decision: "Authorize project closure".
 

The following documents are relevant in Closing a Project:

Continued business justification

In CP the Business Case is evaluated, but not updated anymore. The Benefits Review Plan must be updated.

Learn from experience
The Lessons Report (part of the End Project Report) is composed.
Business Case

In CP the Business Case is evaluated, but not updated anymore. The Benefits Review Plan must be updated.

Organization
The project organization is disbanded and resources are released.
Quality

Products must be accepted and the end product (project product) must be accepted against the acceptance criteria as set down in the Project Product Description.

Risk
The success of the approach to risk management is evaluated in the End Project Report.
Change
A decision has to be taken on how any off-specifications will be handled.
Progress
The End Project Report is updated with the final actuals for time and costs.