Five Key Steps to Closing Down the Project

Posted by Brad Egeland

The post is made possible by the great people at Seavus, creators of online Project Management tools such as ProjectOffice.net, Project Viewer, and Project Planner.  Please visit their site for more information.

A lot of text and attention is given to how to start projects, and how to run projects. But process of properly closing down a project is overlooked. Why? Well, since I can say from experience that I’ve been guilty of this in the past, here are my reasons, at least:

  • Implementation and transition to support happened so moving on seems reasonable
  • Have 4-5 other projects I’m also managing
  • Just received a new, hot project and I’m preparing for kickoff
  • Problem-free implementation means no worries, right?

Look at that list…none of them are good excuses for just basically dropping the ball – and the customer – post-deployment. Things still need to happen, proper hand-offs may still need to be taken care of, information needs to be transitioned. It will happen anyway through frantic phone calls and emails, so why not take care of it in an organized fashion? Because we say we’re too busy…but that needs to change.

Here are my list of five key activities that should happen to ensure proper closure of the project you’ve just finished. Your list may differ and I’d love to hear from you if it does. Feel free to comment and share with our readers here on PMTips.

My list:

  • Make sure all pertinent documents and deliverables have been signed off by the customer. You don’t want this coming back to you after the project is over – especially if there are any question marks our payments outstanding.
  • Get a final signoff on implementation/solution acceptance. You may have the best relationship in the world with your customer, but don’t skip this step.
  • Conduct a lessons learned session with the customer and your team. The information you glean from this type of session can be invaluable to you as a project manager going forward, to your customer as they go forth with the implemented solution, and to your tech support as they provide the ongoing support for the solution with the customer.
  • Hold a proper handoff to tech support. Make sure they have all necessary information in order to properly support the client post-deployment.
  • Keep in touch with the customer post-deployment. You may have a 30 or 60-day agreement to remain available to the customer and for your team to remain available before the formal transition to tech support. But don’t just drop them at that point, keep checking back. It’s good for your reputation with the customer and for your company’s reputation.

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Related posts:

  1. Closing Out the Project – Part 1
  2. Facing Challenges at Closing Time
  3. Project Phase 8 – Post-Deployment
  4. Project Transition to Production Support
  5. Lessons Learned

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3 Comments to “Five Key Steps to Closing Down the Project”

  • Who should compile and deploy the last version of the product (closure version), the customer or the company?

  • The company – the delivery organization….

  • Well written. Very useful indeed.
    Thanks!

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