A project is closed only when a review process is conducted.  This involves:

  • Identifying possible outstanding tasks and any pending risk management activities
  • Create a hand-over plan to transfer the deliverables to the project’s customer
  • Listing any documentation pending hand-over. For example, supplier contracts, project resources, etc
  • A formal communication process to all interested parties indicating the formal closure of the project

It is important that in the project termination phase, the project manager determines the overall team member’s conformance in the project closure. Every project experiences both success and failure – each of which represent an ideal opportunity to document and (hopefully) circulate between other project teams to either build on or avoid similar experiences and outcomes. Lessons learned can represent a potential and growing ‘body of project knowledge’ within the project organisation.

Another important and key success factor in project management is “celebrations”. Why don’t we always celebrate achievement?  The completion of projects within time, cost, and quality constraints is something to celebrate.  People need to know that their efforts were worthwhile and appreciated.  Celebration is important in building team spirit, but also in setting a positive atmosphere for future projects. Ways to celebrate include:

  • acknowledging their effort (saying thank you)
  • introducing the team members to the client (if they have not already met them)
  • taking the team members to a local coffee shop for a kick-out meeting
  • printing up some certificates (perhaps humorous ones)
  • formally appraising and recording the team members’ positive performance
  • passing positive feedback on the team on to their line and/or functional managers
  • ask the team (or individual) how they would like to be rewarded
  • getting all team members to give each other positive (or perhaps constructive) feedback
  • giving the team members challenging duties to move onto
  • assigning team members to new, and perhaps, more complex project work
  • channelling your feedback to the team members up the chain of command so a higher authority can be seen to be recognising their contribution
  • recommending the team members for a promotion as a result of their achievement
  • holding a party the team will never forget

It is important to reflect on these processes:

  • Client acceptance of the deliverables.
  • Documenting, learning, and communicating the lessons learned.
  • Celebrating (the team’s) contribution and success.
  • Debriefing and evaluating stakeholder performance.
  • Finalising the contractual details.
  • Documenting the project closeout.

The project team should celebrate their accomplishments, and the project manager should officially recognize their efforts, thank them for their participation, and officially close the project. A celebration helps team members formally recognize the project’s end and brings closure to the work they’ve done. It also encourages them to remember what they’ve learned and start thinking about how their experiences will benefit them and the organization during the next project.

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Project Management: A Strategic Approach Copyright © 2022 by Carmen Reaiche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.