The Importance of Formal Project Termination Procedures

As projects near completion, there is a natural tendency to minimize costs by transferring people as soon as possible and by closing out work orders. This is the stage where it becomes the responsibility of the Project Manager to devise project termination activities into the project work-plan. These should be seen as vital parts of the project and not just an afterthought.

If however, the value of effective project termination activities is not banked then the opportunity to tie up the loose ends, do staff evaluations and document vital learning is lost. Thus it should be ensured that final reports are well written and an effective transfer of raw materials to other programs takes place on time. For this purpose, many projects may even require one to two months after work completion simply for administrative reporting and final cost summary.

Just like every other phase, the project termination can also be summarized with the help of a few guidelines. The first one pertains to the ‘Project Audit’ which includes the status, forecasts, risk assessments and recommendations for the project. The next activity concerns the ‘Evaluation’ phase which deals with the scope accomplished, technical objectives met and projection of historical data. Other close-out items may consist of final measurements, final reports, client feedback and testimonials.

Project Termination can not even be disregarded for an unsuccessful project. Even in such a case, there are key learnings, team evaluations and other wrap-up activities to make the most of what has been done in the project.

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