David Kassel states in his textbook, Managing Public Sector Projects, “…the project close-out period can be one of stress and anxiety as both the project management team and the contractor sprint to the finish line…” (2010, pg. 199)
I used to have a hard time with the end of projects because:
- The execution phase sucked out all of my energy
- I find it hard to let go of something beautiful I helped create
- Organizations I worked for had no formal close-out processes, so it was considered additional work
- I've built such strong relationships with my team members
According to Kassel, close-out should look something like this:
- Ensure all objectives are formally accepted
- Hand over the final product or service
- Lead the development of Lessons Learned
- Update organizational process assets
- Release the project team
- Complete all documentation (contractual, administrative, financial reporting, etc.)
A major "lesson's learned" early in my career was finding out that writing robust grant reports without adequate statistics after a closed project is very difficult. The team I was on had to remember (or guestimate from the pictures) information from months prior.
I learned to jot down smaller chunks of report information throughout the project while the information is fresh so that the project team isn't scrambling to find all the information in the last few weeks of the deadline.
What does your closeout process look like?
What suggestions do you have?
A great resource to use for project closeouts is The Project Closure Document on A Girls Guide to Project Management.