Project Finalisation

What is Project Closure (Project Finalisation) ?

Project Finalisation or Project Closure is the last stage after completion of the project. This phase is important not only because it gives the sense of completion to the project initiators, i.e., the chairman, members, and related people but also provides satisfaction to the stakeholders by ensuring that their commitments and expectations associated with the project are met. The finalization phase starts when the user accepts that the project has been completed to his satisfaction and the relevant project monitoring authority also clarifies that all the objectives and goals of the project have been met. Administrative closure and logistics are the main thrust areas in project finalisation.

The finalisation phase of the project management exercise aims at ensuring that the objectives of the project have been met as per the expectations of the project sponsor and also the final status of the project and deliverables are communicated to all the stakeholders and project associates. Finalisation phase also ensures that the stakeholders and project associates are provided with information regarding the project follow-up activities which include upcoming projects, service updates. service transitions, portfolio updates, etc. It is evident to provide enough communication opportunities to these associates so as to ensure effective coordination. with the project activities and sponsors.

Activities in Project Finalisation (Project Closure)

Project closure involves following main activities :

1) Project Evaluation : 
One of the important activities of project finalization is project evaluation. In this, the overall project is evaluated on the basis of its objectives (stated in the project charter) and the achievements made by it. A project reaches a successful final stage just because of its project charter, which is prepared at the initial stage of the project. A project charter acts as a yard stick to maintain the growth of the project as per the requirements of the managers or stakeholders. When the project is completed, the work done is evaluated against the project charter which was created in the initial stage of the project. The final outcome of the project should match with what was laid down in the project charter. Necessary amendments can be made in the project charter with time. 
The evaluation of the project should be based on information derived from the project, for example, evaluating the project on the basis of cost, risk management. quality, scheduled completion time, etc. However, such information is fairly objective which usually fails to reflect the real outcomes of the project. For this reason, acquiring feedback from the project team becomes important as it provides valuable information which can be used to evaluate the project. The project team may also highlight all new perspective of the project and help in throwing light on factors which were favorable during project execution and those that could have been improved.

2) Project Handover : 
Project handover is also an important activity of the project finalisation. The objective of project management is to give an output which meets the expectation of the client. Once the work is completed and it is certified that it is as per needs of the client, it can be handed over to the client. It is called project handover. This indicates that the client has accepted the quality of the deliverable and the project can thus be closed. There are still some tasks which are pending like the closure of the accounts books, the debriefing of the project team, etc. These tasks are undertaken only after the project deliverables are handed over to the client and the client has accepted it

3) Continuous Improvement : 
A project should not close until the assessment of the learning of the project has been successfully conducted. This learning may be in the form of new skill. development, knowledge up-gradation, learning new technology or some process, etc. Such assessment of the learning should be included after completion of every project. It should be considered as a formal process which has to be conducted once the project has been successfully completed

4) Planning for Succession : 
In project finalization, different potential findings are identified which provide new opportunities for the managers or stakeholders. Therefore, managers plan for the succession or the future project with the help of these opportunities.

Key Issues in Project Closure

Following are the key issues associated with project finalisation :

1) Financial Record-keeping : 
The first thing that needs to be done is the finalization of all the financial records and documents which need to be reviewed and signed by the supervisor. Such records may include :
  • Record of outstanding payments, for example, installments due in case of hire purchase of goods, cost of breakage or damage of goods or property. The time sheets of all the contract manpower need to be made and paid. It is necessary for audit that all the necessary documentation is done for the contracted staff.
  • Records of the payroll which needs to be maintained in the final budget.
  • Records of receipt of paying supplier invoices.
  • Records of receiving and processing of any kind of payments.
  • Records of deposits in the form of security, hire equipment, etc.. that needs to be recovered. 
The most important aspect of the record-keeping process is to compare the expenditure against the budget and ascertaining that the project was completed within budget.

2) Staff Assessment and Re-Allocation : 
At the time of finalisation of the project, it is necessary that the performance assessment of all the team members is undertaken. This can include supervisors, managers, the staff, sub-contractors, suppliers, etc. The performance can be viewed against the specified job descriptions that may have been set. The appropriateness of the job description should be evaluated and checked whether they have been achieved or not. This will be important in gauging the performance against the yardsticks and also evaluating the performance parameters that were set. Such assessment should be made a part of the project finalization process.
The feedback of the project team also needs to be collected and reviewed. This can be used as valuable information in the execution of future projects. It is important that all the sub contractors are paid timely and their contributions get noted for future use.

3) Completing Project Documentation and Sign Offs : 
It is essential that acceptance and closure document template associated with all the projects are allocated to the respective signatories before signing off. Such document template may further act as a base for all documentation procedures associated with the project, for example, there are many signatories in a project like the CEO, accountant, HR head, purchase head, etc., who are required to deal with the documentation procedures. A formal acceptance and closure mechanism will ensure that all the sections of the project have been completed and suitably accounted for by means of documentation.