Closing - Planning and Project Management Office - Carnegie Mellon University

Closing a project


The purpose of the closing phase in the project management lifecycle is to confirm completion of project deliverables to the satisfaction of the project sponsor, and to communicate final project disposition and status to all participants and stakeholders.  There are two parts to closing a project in Computing Services. First you finish all of the project work, as explained below. Secondly, you close the project in TeamDynamix .

Project closure ensures that all participants and stakeholders to the project are informed of follow-on activities (e.g. new projects, service transitions, OLAs, service portfolio updates, etc.), and have sufficient opportunity to communicate and coordinate with related projects and/or production service owners.

In the case of discovery projects, emphasis is placed on the findings and recommendations report. In the case of delivery projects, the emphasis is on implementation and transition to the production and operational environment.   Closing activities also include identification and capture of lessons learned and best practices, and archival of project deliverables for subsequent reference, organizational learning and reuse.

What are the triggers for a project to enter the Closing Phase?

  • The work has been completed and the deliverables have been accepted by the project sponsor   (e.g. the project is 100% completed)
  • The work has been cancelled or suspended by the project sponsor

What questions should be answered to determine when to close a project?

Based on the triggering event, the Closing Phase answers the questions:

1) If the work is completed:

  • Did we accomplish the agreed upon objectives in this project? Has this been communicated to all stakeholders?
  • What follow up work will be required of future projects?
  • How do we "operationalize" the project, so that on-going support is provided (if necessary)? At the end of the Closing Phase which operations group takes over the support or administration of the product or service?
  • What lessons did we learn from this project?
  • Does the project team know that their hard work was appreciated?

2) If the work has been cancelled or suspended:

  • What are the reasons for cancelling or suspending the project?
  • Are there any plans to reactivate the project in the future?

What actions does the Project Lead perform in the Closing Phase?

Applicability and use of closure deliverables is largely dependent upon project attributes (size, scope, complexity, etc.) and project performance across the key dimensions of scope, schedule, cost and quality (for example, were there issues with scope, cost, budget, customer satisfaction, etc.?).

For a completed project, the project lead is responsible to:

  1. Confirm, preferably in writing, from the project sponsor and/or customers that the project is complete. This can be posted to the Feed in TeamDynamix. (Recommended)
  2. If applicable, complete the Closure Report  (Optional but recommended)
  3. Work with the PPMO to schedule and conduct a Lessons Learned Meeting.   Meeting notes produced during the lessons learned should be attached to the project briefcase in TeamDynamix. (Recommended)
  4. If your project has created or significantly changed a divisional service, contact Karen Van Dusen with the PPMO to assist with Service Transition and to ensure that the service is reflected in the Service Portfolio.
  5. Arrange for an appropriate celebration of the work completed.  Remember to have fun! (Optional but recommended)
  6. Close and deactivate the project in TeamDynamix (link to new TD closure page) (Required).

What tools or templates are available to support the Closing Phase?

The project lead has the following tools and templates to support Closing Phase activities: 

How can the PPMO help the project lead in the Closing Phase?

The PPMO team provides various levels of service in the Closing Phase:

  • Consult with appropriate teams to transition the project to operations
  • Facilitate Lessons Learned Meetings
  • Consult on completing the Closure Report
  • Coordinate and schedule the closure announcement by the department representative at the PRR team meeting
  • Brainstorm team celebration ideas

Contact the PPMO if you would like to discuss your project's closure in further detail.