Closing a project – the PRINCE2 way!
One of the problems with projects is that when they come to their end point, it is not clear when to close the project, or worse, that there are arguments about whether the project has delivered what it promised.
The net result is that projects overrun their budgets, drift aimlessly into operational life, or deliver poor quality products. Therefore the purpose of closing the project process provides a point in time when the acceptance for the project product is confirmed and recognition that the project initiation documentation objectives have been achieved.
The project manager will want to verify that the users have accepted the project products, ensure that the organization is able to support those products, review the performance of the project against its baseline documentation, assess benefits already realized and forecast those remaining and close down any open issues and risks with follow-on action recommendations.
PRINCE2 Closing a Project – Controlled Shutdown!
Once it is clear that the above have been achieved then the project management team can be disbanded and further project costs should no longer be incurred. The end products must transfer into the ownership of the customer.
When planning the last stage of a project, products, costs and resources for closing a project should also be included within the relevant stage plan.
The results and management products from closing a project should be used as an input to the project board in the form of a recommendation of project closure, as it is the project board alone that had the authority to close the project.
Closing a project should also be used at any point during the project should it be necessary to pre-maturely close the project. This could happen after review of the Project Initiation Documentation at the end of the initiation stage, and at any point during the remaining delivery stages.
Some of the management products created during closing a project may need to be modified if this process is used as part of a premature close.
The activities involved with closing a project are: prepare planned closure, hand over products, evaluate the project, and recommend project closure. In the event of a premature closure, the same sequence will need to occur but the activity ‘prepare premature closure’ will replace the activity ‘prepare planned closure’.
Finally, the project board executive should notify corporate or programme management that the project has closed.