What Does It Mean to Close a Project?

A project is temporary. It has to have a beginning and an ending. The duration of the project depends on many factors. The project has to answer the objectives, the finances involved, the availability of the resources, the quality of the product, and several similar external and internal factors affected. When the project ends, whether successful or not, it has to come across a crucial stage called project closure.

First, a project is initiated where the foundation is laid to carry out the project. Then a plan is drawn to determine how the project is to be commenced. Then comes the execution part, where several individuals and teams come together to meet the project goals. Finally, project closure happens. The project closure can be done at the end of the project or at the end of each phase following the same checklist.

Close a Project: What is It?

Project closure is the final stage of a project, where you tie up loose ends and finish the project. Often project managers and business leaders overlook the project closure. But closing a project brings the leaders several benefits.

Closing the project helps validate the end product or service. Through project closure, you take in the feedback from the end user to find out if you have met expectations and resolved any rising issues.

Through the closing of a project, you identify the mistakes that took place in the process and learn from them. You can document this knowledge and use it in the future when a similar issue arises. This allows you to grow successfully in the projects that come into action. And finally, you can also let everyone in the organization know that you are no longer working on the project. You can also send out a note to let everyone know that you were the one who worked on the project, and anyone can come and discuss the project details in the future.

How Important is it to Close a Project Properly?

A project without a proper closure often fails to provide the customers and end users with the required assistance. Without a review of the project or the closing knowledge, while the customers are using the end product or service, the teams may fail to analyze what worked and what failed.

  • A project closure can help you create a detailed report of how the project progressed over the course. You can report the cost that occurred against the budget allotted.

  • You can put back the elements involved where they belong whether it is the infrastructure and concerned resources.

  • The closing of a project helps in creating a detailed document of what exactly happened in the project that can be used as insurance when asked for the reason behind a particular change or action required.

  • Closing the project helps hand over the project how it is intended. Instead of leaving it like an orphan, you can ensure the transition to the customers with proper knowledge transfer and documentation.

Now that we have discussed the importance of closing a project, let us look at its phases of it.

Phases of Project Closure

To ensure that the project met its objectives 100%, it is crucial to know if the closing has undergone the following phases.

Project Postmortem

A project postmortem is where the team or teams involved break down the project's success or failure. It helps in understanding what worked and what didn’t. Every player in the team gives the details of what they have done and provides feedback on their progress. This helps in having guidelines when initiating and planning for a new project.

Product Scope Analysis

Product scope analysis helps in analyzing how the end product meets the requirements of the customers. It makes note of how the functional specifications work towards what the product is designed to do and its purpose. Product scope analysis also helps to study the production of the product to see if it is on the right track for completion and the expected outcome.


Indexing is closing a project where you organize the entire data and make it readily available with easy tracking and retrieving. This helps everyone in the team and the organization pick up the required data regarding a project faster without going through paperwork.


Documentation takes place right from the beginning of the project. But towards the end, at the closing of the project, it should provide total transparency for the team and those around the team get a hold of the data they are looking for any change or action in a project. It helps identify even the smaller tasks and helps answer stakeholders about any queries. Typical documentation in a project includes the project plan, budget, guidelines, and defined activities. It also includes the lessons learned information so that any mistake that took place will not be repeated in the projects to come and any cost-saving ideas used are also implemented in the future.

Resource Management

Many resources are brought together while working on a project. While some resources are internal and permanent, others are external and work temporarily on a contract basis. As a project manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that all your resources are aware of the project's completion and that it ends positively for them. Resource management in the closing of the project means allocating a new objective or assigning a new project to the right resource and bidding farewell to the external resources and paying them off as agreed upon by all parties involved.

Handing Over

Project closure is 100% complete only when you hand over the end product or service intended to the customers. The end users must give positive feedback on what you deliver. Only then can you formally sign off on the project. Without this signoff, you might be overlooking the possibility of the customer not liking what you delivered. Thus, forcing you to rework the project and extending the use of resources and time. Therefore, finally, results in unexpected extra costs.

To close a project is to lay a strong foundation for the next one. The lessons learned during the project help in carrying out successful future projects. Not only closing a project helps in organizing the resources, but it also helps in tying up the loose ends so that nothing is left to chance. Project managers must ensure they close a project the right way so that they have managed the project cost-effectively.