When all is said and done, every project (even small ones) should have some sort of closing procedure. How should this process be handled?
At the end of any project, a close out report has to be submitted. This means that there has to be an official conclusion to a project, indicating that the project has come to an end; that funds and resources will not be needed anymore and the business operations will continue as normal prior to the conception of the project. Manpower will have to be restored back to their respective departments and contracts with suppliers will have to be terminated. This is a process of tying up loose ends that could otherwise cause confusion between all stakeholders involved. It is a phase that is done formally in writing.
Documentation for the Project Close Out Report
To begin the process of compiling a project close out report, all documents pertaining to the project will have to be reviewed. The first phase of the project, the Project Conception Phase, contains documents pertaining to the Scope, Business Case, Project Charter, Stakeholder Analysis, etc. Following the Conception Phase is the Project Planning Phase which documents all the plans that have been made in order to carry out the project, with projections of cost, schedule and resources as per the scope of the project. It gives a detailed outline of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) with task deliverables and work packages. Other documents during this phase include the Scope Management Plan, Product/Service Definition and Scope Philosophy, to name a few.
From then on there are a number of documents which record the amount of work being done, with estimations of cost, time calculations and forecast of resources and manpower needed. Departments that are to be involved in the project are also formally documented with division of work and accountability or responsibility likewise documented as per theResponsibility Assignment Matrix.
Project Close Out Review and Finalization
As the project progresses, the Project Management Plan kicks in with documents covering the following:
There are many registers and logs that also play an important part in recording data about the project throughout the project life cycle. These registers may be the issue logs and management, risk identification and assessment, stakeholder feedback, team appraisals, etc.
One important set of documents involves contracts that are signed between the project sponsor with external agencies or sellers. Contracts are formal agreements between parties and involve cost, time and resource outlines. Conditions mentioned in the contract will determine the success, progress or failure of a project or Work Description.
At the end of the project, a review team reviews the entire project based on the many documents and registers and compares planned outlines with recorded achievements. Contracts are formally closed in writing, and likewise resource procurement is stopped. Manpower is reassigned to their original positions and departments, flow of funds ceases and the project manager officially signs a close out report to officially hand over the project product or service to the project sponsor.
Example of a Project Close Out Report for a Home Builder
For example, if a house has to be built, the documents collected for the close out report would include the scope statement of the project (constructing the house), mission statement, scope management plan, quality expectations (foundation strength, type of wood, expected measurement, roof style, end appearance, guarantees, etc.) cost analysis, or how much the house construction would cost, time analysis or the time frame within which the house will be built, resource analysis and management or the amount of resources, material and manpower will be required.
There will also be documented a risk analysis, based on the external or internal conditions affecting the house, such as neighborhood, terrain, limitations in resources, cost and/or resources, etc. A log of issues that is maintained during the project with staffing patterns to record manpower costs also play a part in the close out report.
Reviews against expectations are also a part of the project management plan and hence reviews based on predetermined factors are compared. These could be details such as window measurements, wood quality, paint color or brand, floor tiles planned against what is finally used, window glass quality, type and cost, etc.
A record of all these details during the conclusion of the project on completion of the house construction after cancelling any active contracts would compile what is known as the project close out report for this project. The product of the project by the project manager to the project sponsor would thus be the newly built house.