Project closure is an important part of any campaign. Loose ends can create unnecessary drains on a business’s resources, money, and require extra employee hours — often incurring overtime pay. This is why it’s important to have a process in place well before it’s time to finalize your work. Project closure can also be an exciting time for the people involved. This is when deliverables are exchanged and team members get to see the work they’ve done in totality.
Navigating successful project closure can help enforce positive relationships with clients as well as keep internal processes running smoothly. This guide can help you create a project closure checklist, which will aid the transition from an active to an archived campaign.
How to Determine When a Project Is Done
It may feel self-explanatory, determining when a project has reached its end. However, there can be several indicators of when a project has come to a close. These can include:
- A date specified in the contract;
- The delivery of all agreed-upon deliverables;
- When you’ve met all the goals or objectives;
- The cancellation of services by the client.
No matter what circumstances have brought your project to an end, it’s important to treat them all with the same professionalism and process. Using the same process for all closures will allow you to keep important information organized for future reference.
Why Is Project Closure Important?
When you’ve determined your project or campaign has come to an end, then it’s time to start the project closure process. It’s important to have a defined process for closing out work. It allows the company to officially stop devoting resources to certain projects. It also provides a clear trail of the lifespan of the project. The data from this can be used for reference in future projects as well as contribute to the larger view of the overall health of the company.
Project closure is also important for the team involved in the process. Not only does project closure affect employee schedules, but official closure is also the time where team members can reflect on their work. Review and reflection play a critical part in employee management and enrichment, for both employees and their managers. This time can reveal areas of improvement, as well as work deserving of accolades.
Creating a Project Closure Checklist
There are several steps within the project closure process, and each person on a project’s team will have different responsibilities in this regard. Each company’s specific closure checklist will vary based on several factors, including the processes already in place, their industry, and their client base. However, each checklist will share a few common elements.
Transfer all Deliverables
As the name suggests, project closure is when it’s time to transfer any outstanding deliverables to your client. This could be a digital document, a physical product, or even the performance of a service. Whatever the deliverables are, it’s important that they are all accounted for on both sides. This marks the beginning of the end of your professional relationship. Around this time you may negotiate with the client the renewal of their contract if this applies to your business model.
Review the Contracts
This step can be done during or after the transfer of deliverables. Reviewing the original contract can help remind both parties of what’s expected upon project closure. This can help wrap up any loose ends as you transition into the end of the relationship. It can also be a good time to make any changes if the contract is going to be renewed. This step is incredibly important because if your team leaves out any part included within the original contract, it can spell legal trouble for your company.
Create a Closure Report
Once all the deliverables have been transferred and the contract reviewed, then you can create a closure report. This report should be a round-up of all the outcomes of the project. These outcomes can include project time spend, budget, and any other metrics of importance. This report can help you and your team evaluate the success or failure of the project and give you a complete picture of the entire campaign.
This report isn’t just helpful for your team’s review — these reports can contribute to case studies, which can be powerful tools for your company’s marketing and analytics.
Store All Remaining Documents
Once you’ve finished all the paperwork for your closure process, it’s important to keep them organized. These documents may be needed for future reference, and it’s always a good idea to keep them on hand just in case. You can store them digitally or physically, depending on your needs. Regardless of how you store these documents, you should have a standard, company-wide process. This will make it easier for other employees to access previous documents and store future documents.
Celebrate With Your Team
This may seem like an unimportant step, but it’s incredibly important in building trust and showing appreciation to your employees. Some projects can last months or even years. So when the time comes to close out the project, take a moment to celebrate your successes. Even if the overall project wasn’t deemed a success according to your goals, you can still recognize the good work that was done within the project.
The end of a project can be a hectic time. By having a project closure checklist and following a standardized process, you can reduce the stress on your team and yourself, and end your project with the highest quality work possible.