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Why Should You Use a Project Closure Report Form in Your Projects?
Project closure is an oft-overlooked stage of the project management life cycle. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to properly close your projects. During this phase, you need to make sure the project deliverables were acceptable to end-users, that the project was completed, and that the project is, in fact, completed. One of the tools used during this phase of the project management process is the project closure report form. This form helps demonstrate to your team members and to stakeholders that the project is completed.
I've created a free project closure report form template available to you in the media gallery. This form is available for you to download, modify, and use at your convenience. The remainder of the article will explain how to fill out this form.
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General Project Information
On the project closure form template, you will notice that there is a section that I've highlighted in orange. This is the section where you will enter generic project information. Fill in the name of the project and project manager. Next, you can fill in the date the project was initiated and the date the project was completed. If you wish, you may also include a project ID number and the duration of the project in days. Project management consultants will probably also want to include the name of the company the project was completed for and the primary contact for the project in the organization in this section.
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Then next item to fill in will be the objectives of the project. This is separate from the scope statement. What was the ultimate goal that the project was meant to accomplish? Were you creating a new software product? Were you improving a process? State the objectives of the project succinctly in this section. Do not yet indicate whether those objectives were met. That information will go in a different section.
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Project Scope Statement
Next, you will copy your project scope statement; this is the version the project was completed under (if your project required scope change). Be sure you make note of any requirements that were part of the project scope in this section. Again, this is not the place to discuss what happened with the scope; you are simply stating what the scope of the project was so that later, should you need to refer to the project closure report, you can pull out the file and quickly be reminded of what the project involved.
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Project Outcome and Problems Encountered in Project's Duration
These two sections are where you will list the project outcomes. First, simply list the project outcomes - did you complete that deliverable? Was it above and beyond the stakeholders' requirements? On the other hand, did the project fail? Be honest about the project outcome - was it two weeks late? Were the stakeholders unhappy with the final result? Record all outcomes.
You also want to make note of any difficulties your team had in completing the project, the causes of these difficulties, and how these difficulties were handled regardless of the outcome of the project. You may have had a successful project and yet had suffered a few stumbling blocks along the road. It's important to do this part so that in the future should you run across similar problems, you can save time in solving them.
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Recommendations and Team Members
Be sure you include any recommendations for further projects in this section or any company best practices processes that were discovered in the duration of the project. Don't forget to ensure that any recommendations for future projects are recorded elsewhere as well so that should you have the inclination, need, and resources to complete them you can act on it.
Next, be sure you list all team members and their roles in the project. If you have more team members than the space allows, be sure you attach a supplemental sheet. That actually applies to any of these areas - should you have had many problems; attach a sheet detailing issues and the solutions that occurred during the project management process and make note of it on the project closure form.
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Finally, you'll want to have the project manager and relevant stakeholders sign off that the project is complete and meets the objectives. These signatures also acknowledge that the information on the project closure report form is both true and accurate. Once those signatures have been received, you may then file the form away with the remaining project documents.