How to Plan for Your Project’s Completion

New project managers may not realize this, but planning for the completion of a project should be part of the initial project plan. If you wait until the end of your project to start thinking in detail about its closure, it may be too late to gather all the necessary information and resources.

Start planning for your project’s completion at the same time that you prepare your initial project plan by doing the following:

  • Describe your project objectives completely and clearly, and identify all relevant objective measures and specifications. If one of the project objectives is to change an existing situation, describe that situation before you begin your project so you have a comparative basis for assessment at the end of your project.

  • Prepare a checklist of everything you must do before you can officially close your project. Here are some examples of closure items to include on your checklist:

    • Complete any unfinished project activities.

    • Complete all required deliverables.

    • Obtain all necessary acceptances and approvals of project results, including those of the client(s).

    • Assess the extent to which project results met expectations.

    • Perform all required administrative tasks.

    • Terminate all related contracts for goods and services.

    • Transition team members to their new assignments.

    • Ensure that all project documentation and deliverables are archived in the appropriate storage locations.

    For each item on the project-closure checklist, specify who will perform it, when it will be done, and what resources will be required.

  • Include closure activities in your project plan. In your project’s Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), specify all activities you’ll have to perform to close out your project, and then plan for sufficient time and resources to perform them.

Encourage your team members to consider the closing the project stage of your project to be a separate assignment with its own objectives, tasks, and resource requirements. As you complete the main project’s work, review and update the preliminary closure plans you developed in your initial project plan.

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