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Project Closure: Finalize Project Activities and Close Procurements

 

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Closure is the final, fifth phase of the project lifecycle to finalize project activities and complete open procurement orders. Closing a project means stating successful completion (or failure) of every objective specified in the project management plan and acceptance (or rejection) of the end product by the customer. All the project activities for maintaining and implementing the subsidiary plans should be stopped and appropriate records on the results should be made.

In the PMBOK Guide, the closure phase is regarded as the Closing Process Group that includes two high-level processes, such as the following:

  • Close project
  • Close procurements

If you use project management software to manage and finalize your project, it will be convenient for you to divide each of the processes into a series of tasks that are easier to manage because these tasks are assigned to certain employees, have a number of attributes (like duration, cost, etc.) and are tracked by status. For example, with help of VIP Task Manager you can break the processes down into to-do lists and tasks, assign employees to one or several tasks, add custom fields, build workflows and do other things that simplify implementation of the closure phase. Letís see what typical tasks can be created to implement the processes and also find out how VIP Task Manager can help your team to complete such tasks and the processes.

Close Project

According to the PMBOK Guide, when the change management process is finished and all the updates to the PM plan and subsidiary plans have been approved the project manager needs to take the next step towards formal closure of the project. Closing the project is a process that requires reviewing the updated PM plan, accepted deliverables, and changes made to the subsidiary plans (the risk management plan, the communications management plan, etc.).

The purpose of the process is to transit the final product/service to the customer and make sure the customer is fully satisfied with the product/service so all the requirements have met. In case the customer is unsatisfied with the whole product/service or its separate features and functions the customer sends a formal statement specifying the claim. However, such a situation is untypical because all the issues regarding the product/service features and functions should be settled and solved during the tracking phase, before the project deliverables have been accepted and verified.

The Close Project process involves the project manager in conducting a post-implementation review once the product is delivered to and accepted by the customer. Such a review is an assessment of the work done as the project is completed. The purpose is to state success (or failure) of the project, examine efficiency of activities and learn lessons from this project. The review also investigates whether the product is produced as required. It ends up with generating findings and recommendations on project improvements. This information can be useful later in future projects.

Close Procurements

This process supports the previous one as it involves verification of all work and deliverables and that have been accepted. Its purpose is to complete outstanding procurements and address each contract applicable to the project or its phase. The project manager in cooperation with the purchasing dept. head needs to review procurement documentation and the procurement management plan through using audits and negotiations to identify success or failure of procurement contracts and settle outstanding issues, claims and disputes with vendors.

The Close Procurements process ends up with creating lessons learned documentation and generating the procurement file that lists closed and settled contracts. The purchasing dept. head needs to report on the status of project procurements to the project manager.

Using VIP Task Manager

With help of VIP Task Manager you can plan and do tasks related to both processes. In Task Tree view of the software, you can add the Project Closure group to your project hierarchy and specify all the tasks required for finalizing project activities and closing procurements. Hereís an example of tasks and groups that can be added to the Closure Phase group.

  • Close Project
  • Confirm that the project has been completed according to needs and expectations of the sponsor, customer and other stakeholders.
  • Verify work and deliverables accepted.
  • List exit criteria for closing the project.
  • Make decision on closing the project.
  • Transfer the product/service to operations.
  • Collect records on the project.
  • Organize the records into project files ready for archiving.
  • Audit the project success/failure.
  • Make post-implementation review
  • Gather lessons learned.
    • Archive project information.
  • Close Project Procurements

Closure Phase

    • Administer updates made to the project management plan
    • Audit and negotiate procurements.
    • Report on status of deliveries to the purchasing department head.
    • Communicate with vendors on outstanding issues.
    • Report status if the issues to the purchasing department head.
    • Send the deliverable acceptance statement to vendors.
    • Add closed contracts to the procurement file.
    • Send the procurement file to the purchasing department head for review and approval.
    • Approve the procurement file.
    • Archive records on lessons learned.

VIP Task Manager lets make several kinds of reports on tasks and groups. For example, when your project is completed and the closure phase is finished you can make an HTML report on the entire project including all the five phases and their groups and tasks. Charts panel lets generate Bar diagram that shows % complete per phase of the project. You can print out any report created in VIP Task Manager. Please look at the screenshot to see the hierarchy and an example of graph report.

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