Finalising Project Costs: Key Elements and Progression of Project Closure

Project closure is the final phase of a project lifecycle. During this phase, the project manager is responsible for identifying and recording the outcomes of all objectives, and getting customer sign-off on all facets of the project.

Dividing the project closure into a series of more manageable tasks aids the process of closing. These tasks can be delegated where necessary and more easily tracked. With a plan in place, all activities related to project closure will naturally draw to a satisfactory end-point.

Here we look at the elements involved in finalising project costs.

The project closure report

The project manager should write a closure report that includes all relevant information including cost management details, lessons learned, and sub-contract closures. Project records will need to be collected and collated. This report should confirm that:

  • The project has met all customer expectations
  • All deliverables have been delivered and accepted
  • All project contracts have been finalised and closed

Finalise project deliverables

Client sign-off must be obtained as to the delivery of all final project deliverables. It is at this point that the client agrees the project may be closed, and as such should be the first step in the project closure process.

Closing contracts

When closing contracts, the project manager will need to verify that all work has been completed satisfactorily with contracts updated to reflect findings. Contract closure can only take place when it has been confirmed that the project has addressed contract terms and conditions and all exit criteria have been met.

Financial reconciliation

The credits and debits associated with the project and all sub-tasks must be agreed, with all revenues collated and accepted.

Transferring knowledge

The post-project review will include recording project history, documenting planned and actual budget outcomes and baseline and actual schedules, and detailing lessons learned. Successes and failures should be identified, and these used later to recommend best practices going forward.

Summing up

Even though it is the last phase in the project lifecycle, project closure should be anticipated and planned well in advance. Attention must be paid to the essential elements involved in project closure:

  • Verify with the client acceptance of all project deliverables
  • Conduct post-project analysis and capture lessons learned
  • Reconciliation of project finances
  • Ensure all project revenues are received