The Close Project or Phase process is the last process you need in preparation for the PMP Certification Exam and marks the culmination of a phase in the project life cycle or the completion of the entire project.

Close Project or Phase. Finalizing all activities across all Project Management process groups to formally complete the project or phase.

Close Project or Phase: Inputs

To formally close a phase in the project life cycle or the entire project, you need to compare the accepted deliverables to the information in the project management plan. Remember: “Accepted deliverables” are an output from the Validate Scope process.

Accepted deliverables

At the end of a phase, you should get formal approval and acceptance for any completed deliverables. At the end of the project, you have all accepted deliverables, the approvals for each deliverable, and the final approval and acceptance for the final product.

The project management plan

The project management plan documents the project life cycle and has instructions on how to close out a project phase. Each phase has specific deliverables that need to be complete and accepted before it can be considered closed. Oftentimes, additional criteria need to be met before considering a phase closed.

Organizational process assets

Your organizational process assets (OPAs) describe phase and project closure guidelines. Examples of phase closure criteria include

  • Performance reviews: At the end of the phase, the project sponsor and/or customer along with the project management team discuss the performance metrics for the phase and the project overall. They look at the risk events that occurred during the current phase, the status of issues, and any corrective actions that need to be taken.

  • Project management plan updates: The end of a phase is a good time to make sure that all the elements of the project management plan are accurate and up to date. Some project managers wait for a phase gate to update the plans with the latest version.

  • Project document updates: If you have an iterative life cycle, you can collect information for the next iteration during the Close Project or Phase process. You can also go through the assumption and risk logs and close out any out-of-date items, and update the remaining items. Some project managers collect new requirements, changes, assumptions, and risks when they formally initiate the new phase.

  • Lessons learned: It’s a good practice to collect lessons learned as you go through the project. At the end of each phase, formalizing the lessons learned for the phase and integrating those lessons into the next phase helps ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Close Project or Phase: Tools and Techniques

You’ll use your team expertise and customer feedback to measure deliverables against elements in the project management plan to determine whether the project is complete. The project scope statement documents product scope, product acceptance criteria, and project deliverables.

You should review the project scope statement; requirements documentation; baselines for scope, schedule and cost; and any other relevant information in the project management plan to make sure that you successfully met all the project and product completion requirements.

Analytical techniques are used to record final project performance measurements for technical, schedule, and budget performance. The causes of any variances should be identified and recorded in a lessons learned document.

Conduct a lessons learned meeting at least at the end of every phase because you often have different resources in different phases. Make sure to get stakeholder input from those people who leave the project before it’s complete.

In the event that the project terminates before completion, you will conduct the formal closure process with the existing information. You want to document the progress that was made, the work that remains unfinished, and the reason for project termination. Oftentimes, a project is restarted months or even years later, so having good records of the project’s status when it was closed is helpful.

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