Updated: Oct 12
Project close out is easily the most neglected of all the project phases. Some feel that it’s like watching the credits roll after the movie has ended. But it is absolutely a critical phase as it allows for the true completion of the work and putting a ‘bow’ on the entire project. As you go through your project close out activities, make sure that you pay extra special attention to these activities.
Invoicing & Payments
This might seem obvious but sadly it is not for some projects. Depending on how interactive the project manager is with invoicing (this post assumes the PM drives it all), then invoicing and subsequent payments are vital to closing out your project (your accounting department will love you for it). Going through your contract to ensure all contractual invoices are issued and that payment criteria has been met is very important to complete in this phase of the project. Invoicing should not be a surprise to your client and having ongoing discussions about upcoming milestone payments are a great way to keep on top of invoicing and collections.
Team Profile Updates
This is one that a lot of organizations don’t mandate, probably due to the perceived lack of importance of it. Updating professional profiles with the achievements that were done as part of the project is a great way to keep your library of resumes and profiles active and attractive for when you are bidding on new work that may require you to submit professional profiles for the individuals named to the project. Often this is not required by organizations and as such, put to the bottom of the never-to-be-reached to-do list. Making a point to keep profiles updated based on project achievements is something every professional services organization should do.
Lessons Learned & Action Plan
The fact that lessons learned are not done as part of every project should drive organizations insane. Failures are expensive but valuable. But only valuable if you learn something from it. Taking on a failure and not identifying what you can do differently to not repeat that failure again is how good organizations turn into great organizations. In fact, lessons learned in project closeout should be a culmination or summary of the lessons that you’ve documented throughout the project.
Project close outs can sometimes have the least amount of discipline applied to them but are just as equally important to the success of the project as any other phase. Make sure to include these often overlooked items as part of your closeout on your way to having another successful project!