Project closure Session :
Project closeout Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP
Lessons learned Consultant Project management R3D
Project termination HEC Montréal
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 1
Introduction – Louis Gilbert P Ing., MBA, PMP
Introduction of R3D consultant
Project closure process objectives;
Beliefs of project closure;
Success Factors of project closure;
When to complete project closure activities;
What activities are required for project closure;
How to use the available tools;
Simulation of post-mortem session.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 2
Project closure process objectives
Initiating Planning Level of activity
Control Execution Planning
Closing Start of phase Time End of phase
At the end of the project, the project manager relies on project closing
processes to ensure that all activities have been completed to the customer
satisfaction, the product is functionally delivered, all invoices are paid,
contract closed, and finally the post-mortem documentation completed with
the assistance of the project team and/or project office to take advantage of
lesson learned for future project initiatives.
Tip: Include all closing activities with the WBS & plan to ensure completion
Tip: As a project manager, you have a responsibility to customers and team members to close your project
formally, as well as practically
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 3
Beliefs for project closure …
Based on experience, more that 90% of projects do not want to perform a
project review or post-mortem for the following reasons:
Time & efforts required for closing officially a project could be better
spent in a new start-up project;
Many project managers are reluctant having their project reviewed
by an external party from the project;
Functional director pressure the quick reassignment of project
Organisational methods are not in place or adapted to assimilate
the project complexities & explain root causes for problems
experienced by projects;
No lessons learned compilation system are in place in the
organisation … then, why do it and what to do the data ?
In practice, a very limited number of projects are completely reviewed at closing.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 4
Why … project closure
1. What is the definition of a successful project?
2. Describe the purpose of the Closing process.
3. Why should you close the project accounts at the end of the
4. What should the project manager do after contract closeout?
5. What sometimes happens with team members in the performing
stage of development as they approach the end of the project?
6. Describe the purpose of a warranty period.
7. What are lessons learned?
8. Why should the project manager get formal project sign-off?
9. What information should be archived at the close of the project?
10. Why is celebration important for team members?
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 5
Questions … & answers
A successful project meets or exceeds the expectations of the stakeholders.
The Closing process involves getting final approval of the product of the project, closing
out the accounts, documenting lessons learned, and archiving project information.
The project accounts should be closed at the end of the project so that no more spending
is charged against the project budget. If more charges are applied to the budget than
what are called for in the plan, you'll have budget variances.
After performing contract closeout, the project manager should formally notify the seller in
writing that the contract is complete and the product or service of the project is
satisfactory and acceptable.
Teams in the performing stage of development sometimes delay the close of the project
by creating problems or dragging out due dates. They're reluctant to move on because
they are enjoying their work on the project and don't want it to come to an end.
A warranty period provides a period of time after the implementation of the project when
stakeholders or customers can report problems and have them addressed immediately.
Lessons learned are the successes and failures of the project, and they should be noted
and archived with the project documentation for future reference.
Final, formal sign-off on the project ensures that the customer and stakeholders have
verified that the outcomes of the project meet all the requirements outlined in the scope
All project documentation should be archived at the close of the project. This includes the
project charter, all project planning documents, lessons learned, and more.
Celebration brings closure to the project and helps the team members formally recognize
the end of the project. It's also a chance for the project manager to recognize the
contributions of the team members and thank them for their participation.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 6
Closing Success Factors Tip: A successful project strikes a balance
among customer satisfaction, results, time
and resources. Clear goals, Management
Activity majority administrative, but not of less support, Effective communication.
3,6 % of PROJETS =
Use of project team synergy during post-mortem
100 % OBJECTIVES
Not to take lessons learned as discipline actions
during project resource performance revues (no
resource wishes to be associated with project Respects $ &
errors; but experience learned is advantageous timeline
to organisation not to be repeated);
Sharing of lessons learned with project office to Stopped
ensure historical knowledge & archiving; Exceed
Ensure to keep all resources, often solicitude by
starting project, up to formal project release;
Define clear acceptance criterias at projet start
Based on The Standish Group (1994)
phase to close project and limit never ending
projects; Tip: Project failure may arise following
Based on Cooke-Davis research (2002), one of series of multiple problems qui may
seem to be trivial individually but where
12 key success of project oriented organisations the combine effect may be to significant
is to foster continuous process & practices (ex: succession of change requests)
learning within projects.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 7
When to start the project closure
End of the project – At the end of the project planning or even better should
be started with the development phase;
Tracking Mesures to be taken during the entire project life cycle:
– Risk & Issues management with documented solutions;
– Not expected situations identified;
– Action log & solutions identified to issues within the project meeting minutes;
End of a phase – The closing activities should also be performed at the end
of a project phase to realign the team members at the start of the next
phase activities and to ensure the optimal understanding of the team of the
next delivery acceptance criterias;
Project cancelled or stopped – The project closing is even more important
when the project is abruptly terminated or « Cancellation » by management
decision for a variety of reasons: unavailable funding, obsolescence
technology, market changes, fusion & acquisition, loss of sponsor, …; in this
situation, it is important to bring the project to as positive a conclusion as
possible. Work to let everyone involved move on from the project to other
work with enthusiasm. Discourage "bridge burning" and "blame-storming”.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 8
Closing Activities to be completed
Project Scope Administrative Site Transition to
Organisation verification Closure operations
Plan reassignment Customer sign-off Invoice customer Facilities closure
Product Support &
Performance Technical Audit Payment of suppliers Return client
evaluation furnished equipment
Financial audit Contract closeout
Project Operational Sign-off
Acknowledgements documentation de
Product completion (PMO) & archiving
Conduct Closeout and delivery files
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 9
Here is a list of available tools for the project manager to evaluate the
project progress & closure with the project team:
Surveys – » to quantify project results;
Team meetings – » to obtain consensus points or desagrements & to
generate forgotten ideals;
Informal Feedback – » to obtain honest individual comments & to dig
Project Documentation – » Project history found in meeting minutes &
issue / risk logs;
Resource Evaluation Forms – » Ability to identify precise project related
Lots of coffees – » Continuous feedback during projet;
Post Mortem – » Summary & logical grouping of lessons learned within
Tip: To help out during the writing of the lessons learned, it is
recommended to ask in the survey what are 2 items to improve upon and 2
items not to be changed.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 10
Please complete the following items with the appropriate score:
1—Strongly disagree 2—Disagree 3—Agree 4—Strongly agree N/O—Not observed
1 2 3 4 N/O Project developed & used risk management plan.
1 2 3 4 N/O Project problems were raised quickly and escaladed if required.
1 2 3 4 N/O Calendar problems were addresses efficiently.
1 2 3 4 N/O Resources problems were corrected quickly.
1 2 3 4 N/O The change management process was effective to manage specs changes.
1 2 3 4 N/O Project revue were optimal in frequency.
1 2 3 4 N/O Team communication was open & frequent.
1 2 3 4 N/O Project documentation was easily available.
1 2 3 4 N/O Project tracking reports reflected the realities lived.
1 2 3 4 N/O Project issues were addresses with an efficient problem resolution process.
1 2 3 4 N/O Sponsors gave adequate project team support & guidance.
TIP: in addition to the survey, we suggest to ask project members to identify a practice which should stay for
future projects and recommend a practice which should be eliminated.
TIP: sending the survey to team members before the post-mortem meeting, will help them think about
situations experienced and ideals for improvement. The post-mortem cannot be replaced by the survey ,
there will be a lot of important decision feedback missing.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 11
Team post-mortem session
Here is the list of element to be covered during the
post-mortem exercise & discussed with all project
4. Quality Quality Time
5. Human Resources
7. Risks Resources Risk
8. Procurement Scope
10. Implementation & tests
TIP: analyze the post-mortem topics
based on initially set project priorities
from the project charter
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 12
Documentation - Table of content
Suggested elements for the Post-mortem:
I. Executive Summary
Tip: The post- II. Introduction
mortem III. Project Review (i.e. Project charter: description, in scope/ out of
compiles all pertinent scope, Key Deliverables, client, project manager, stakeholders,
information which is business objectives)
to be communicated
to project IV. Project deliverables
stakeholders. V. Project results (i.e. context, budget, actual, gap)
VI. Explication of gaps
VII. Revue of issues / risks with mitigation actions taken
VIII. Quality of deliverables - non conformity of deliverables between
Project vs Operations;
IX. Resource analysis, suppliers & contract feedback
X. Challenges & solutions
XI. Recommendations & lessons learned
XII. Outstanding activities
XIII. Client survey
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 13
Project closing Simulation
Perform : « HEC training class exercise »:
– Identify themes for discussion: Classroom, Hours, Teacher,
Exchange discussions, Guess, Homework;
– Take 5 minutes silence to reflect on the themes:
• « How can we determine the project is in difficulty (advance
warnings) ? »
• « What are the observations often identified by project team ? »
• « What are expected comments during project closing ? »
– Read the answers given for the various participants for group
– During your next project meeting, ask the following question: « What are
your actual project preoccupations ? » Add that you would like to hear
each and everyone of the team; every team member must have the
opportunity to express his views. Look at how you felt when you asked
the question and listen to the answers.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 14
Simulation – answers & observations
People often know when a project is in trouble long before the
project is openly declared a failure or out of control.
One of the ways people know in advance about trouble is by how
Very experienced project leaders eventually learn, over many
projects, to associate their feelings with specific behaviours that
almost always lead to serious trouble.
You may feel it in your body when something is wrong with your
project. We each feel this in our own unique ways.
Certain behaviours during projects almost always lead to trouble.
Legitimize and encourage the expression of feelings in your project
team. Feelings are information you cannot afford to ignore.
A project review by an outside expert can help you convince your
management that your project is trouble.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 15
Summary « Checklist »
For any project closing, the project manager is responsible for:
Prepare final project status report & results (financial & technical);
Collect final time sheets, expense reports, and team status reports;
Close or complete remaining tasks in the project schedule;
Collect final cost and schedule metrics to analyzed & explain gaps;
Make final payments to vendors and contractors, and close out contracts;
Review and update the issues log, highlight remaining issues, and decide how these issues are to
Organize and archive all project deliverables and documentation (Project status, MS Project, Post-
mortem…) to be transferred to the project office;
Prepare a plan for handling ongoing product support;
Plan for the release of all project resources (i.e., project team members, technology, equipment,
Perform survey and / or team post-mortem session;
Plan for the evaluations and reviews of the project team members and the project itself;
Perform client satisfaction survey & ensure complete deliverables;
Close of all project accounts in tracking tools;
Release or reassign all team resources;
Return all equipments & computers;
Complete project performance indicators;
Ensure transition to production;
Formal or informal presentation to project office & management;
Recognized team member contribution.
Louis Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09 R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 16
The « good moves »,
les « winning » recipes,
Bad decisions. Project resources;
« Other management (Sponsor) & project resources »
Module Gilbert Ing, MBA, PMP V2009-04-09
Louis C V9.2 2007-11-26 Copyright R3D Conseil inc. R3D est une entreprise accréditée REP par le PMI 17 17