Importance of project close out
The close out is the last stage of the process, which indicates the formal completion of the work. It’s very important moment in the project lifecycle, and it’s much more than making a final presentation, submitting a final report or releasing resources. There are several points important in the project close out:
1. Project results and documentation (maintenance, service and repair instructions, technical and construction documentation). Complete launch of the product at the designated place.
2. Guidelines regarding the scope and responsibility for further service, maintenance and completion of the project. Warranty and liability for maintenance work carried out in the future, as well as the expansion and completion of the project.
3. Closing the project organization and reinstating the team's employees for positions of the original functional departments.
4. Changing the use of technical resources used in the project. Ensuring that all resources used for the project are not left unfinished after the project is closed.
5. Analysis of the project closure (costs, final scope, etc.)
6. Results analysis with respect to the objectives set for the course or implementation of the project and the impact of internal and external components on the project.
7. Strengthening and entrusting knowledge gained during the implementation of the project.
8. Arrangements between the project manager and the client related to further work to be performed, maintained and supplemented.
9. The closing meeting of the project, which is the last meeting of all members of the project team.
10. Preparing a project closure report and providing information to all project members about its closure.
Long term project success
Many times even though the project is closed, there is still a process in place to ensure its success on the long term. Especially when implementing new productivity software solutions, project finalisation is actually still a beginning and the success or failure is determined by the months to come, in which either the team will use the software and make it part of the daily work or will stick to the old methods. Next steps and formalised support are essential to make sure the projects goals will be met long term.
Capturing project lessons
Independently of how experienced the project team might be, in every project there are lessons learned and processes that might be improved. Capturing project lessons can lead to creation of experience database from which further project teams will be able to learn and use it for multiple purposes, for example to assess project risk. From my experience, during the project, project manager should be gathering the feedback on an ongoing basis. At the end of the project, an in depth interview with core stakeholders and a survey with all members is a good way to capture multiple points of views and determine what could have gone better.