5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 4: Process 4.6 Close Product or Phase

This Process 4.6 Close Product or Phase, besides being the final process out of the Integration Management Knowledge Area, also happens to be the last process you will encounter on the project itself.

1. Project Management Plan The Project Management Plan should include the agreement between the project manager and the project sponsor, defining what criteria constitute successful project completion.
2. Accepted Deliverables These are the output of the process 5.5 Validate Scope. The formal documentation regarding from the customer or sponsor acknowledging formal stakeholder acceptance of the deliverables is an input to this process.
3. OPAs
  • Project or phase closure guidelines or requirements.
  • Project document and lessons learned database
1. Expert judgment Expertise is used to ensure project or phase closure, often from the Project Management Organization (PMO) or other project managers within the organization if there is no PMO.
2. Analytical Techniques
  • Regression analysis
  • Trend analysis
3. Meetings Meetings will focus on closeout procedures and lessons learned for future projects.
1. Final output, service, or result transition This is the output of the entire project.
2. OPAs updates
  • Project files
  • Project closure documents
  • Historical information (lessons learned, etc.)

There are three separate closures going on in the project. There is the closure of the product, the closure of the project, and a closure of the resources behind the project. This is not PMBOK terminology, but my way of organizing these various parts of the closure process.

The closure of the product means getting the customer to accept the final deliverable if the project is external, meaning that the end result is going to be delivered to a customer outside of the organization. If the project is internal, meaning that the end result is going to be delivered to the sponsor, then the sponsor is the one that has to sign off on the final deliverable. Besides handing off the completed product, and gaining acceptance, this is often a good time to solicit feedback from the customer or sponsor about the project for use in the “lessons learned” for future projects. What went wrong? What went well?

The closure of the project means the formal closing of the administrative procedures, the updating of project documents, and the lessons learned knowledge base, and then the indexing and archiving of those records and databases. This is also a time for review of the project performance in terms of various criteria agreed upon beforehand to judge the degree of success of the project (was it within budget, on schedule, etc.).

The closure of the resources behind the project means the financial closure of the project. This is important because financial closure must be completed before the unused resources assigned to that project can be returned to the organization for use on other projects.

These three processes need to be completed if the project is not only going to be successful, but is going to be the seed of future successful projects because all of the lessons gained through experience can now be used to prevent the project manager from having to “reinvent the wheel” the next time.

Having completed a review of the six processes of the Integration Management knowledge base, I would like to return to a few topics from this knowledge area.

The first one is to review the various subsidiary plans that go into the Project Management Plan. All of the knowledge areas have their own subsidiary plans that go into this “master” plan, if you will, but there are four additional subsidiary plans that are a vital part of this Project Management Plan which need to be recognized as well. Those subsidiary plans will be the subject of the next post.

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