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Ending Your Project: the Closing Process Group

written by: Rupen Sharma, PMP • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 10/4/2013

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines five process groups in Project Management. This article defines the Closing Process Group.

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    Unlike an operational process, a project has a finite start and end. Unfortunately, when projects are successful or there are some embarrassing moments, project closure can be poorly performed. Whether the project has been successful or is aborted, a project needs to be closed! The Closing Project Group defined in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Fifth Edition provides critical activities that pertain to closing a project.

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    Recap of the PMBOK5 Process Groups

    The PMBOK5 categorizes project management processes into five groups. These categories are known Project Management Process Groups.

    • Initiating Process Group
    • Planning Process Group
    • Executing Process Group
    • Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
    • Closing Process Group

    These process groups interact with each other during the project life-cycle, and the project ends with the Closing Process Group. Let’s start by taking a look at the definition of the Closing Process Group.

    “The Closing Process Group consists of those processes performed to conclude all activities across all Project Management Process Groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations.” – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth Edition

    To understand the activities involved in this process group, let’s get see the processes involved.

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    Close Project or Phase Process

    The outputs of this process are Final Product, Service or Result Transition, and Organizational Process Assets Update. While the former output can be deduced, the latter output is more complex. It involves capturing all project artifacts, such as the Project Management Plan, Risk Register, and Stakeholder Register. It’ll include formal documentation on the completion or termination of the project/phase. As a project manager, you will review the contract and the customer acceptance documentation.

    A key activity that takes places during this process is that lessons learned are identified and documented. Future projects may use these lessons and avoid project failure. Hence, projects need to be closed earnestly. To succeed in this, ensure that the team appreciates the problems that they faced! The lessons learned are not only for reviewing the problems faced, but makes team members retrospect on the successes.

    The following figure shows some of the activities that are typically performed during the Close Project or Phase process.

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    Close Procurements Process

    The outputs of this process are Closed Procurements and Organizational Process Assets Update. Closed Procurements involves reviewing the contract and providing a formal written intimation to the seller. The Organizational Process Assets Update process is similar to that in the Closing Process Group. The key difference is that it focuses on procurement artifacts and procurement-related lessons learned. These lessons learned are important because they would capture the experience of working with a particular vendor. Therefore, future projects can easily mitigate the risks associated with working with a particular vendor.

    The following figure shows some of the activities that are typically performed during the Close Procurements process.

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    Key Points for the Closing Process Group

    The Closing process group has two processes: Close Project or Phase and Close Procurements. After completing the processes in this group, a project manager must release the organizational resources so that they can be deployed in other projects. If you are closing a phase, the lessons learned are carried forward and addressed in the next phase. If the project has been aborted, you still need to perform the Close Project and Phase and the Close Procurements processes, assuming that there is an external vendor.

    Here are some tips on closing a project:

    • Schedule the Close Project meeting (Post Project Review). Yes, that means have it in your Gantt chart.
    • Invite key stakeholders to meeting.
    • Encourage openness and share the lessons learned with others in the organization.
    • Evaluate the project against project objectives, budget, quality requirements, and the end deadline.
    • Evaluate how well you managed risks and your key stakeholders.
    • Celebrate with your team!

    There is no difference in this process group between PMBOK 4 and PMBOK 5.

References

  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Edition (C) 2013 PMI

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