Closure and Evaluation
The Project Closure phase involves releasing the final deliverables to the customer, handing over project documentation, terminating supplier contracts, releasing project resources and communicating project closure to all stakeholders. The final step is to undertake an Evaluation to determine the extent to which the project was successful and note any lessons learned for future projects. The Project Closure Report should list all the activities required to close the project, to ensure that project closure is undertaken smoothly and efficiently. Once the report has been created and approved, the closure activities specified within the report are undertaken and the project is then officially closed. One to three months after the project has been closed and the business has begun to experience the benefits provided by the project, it is important to undertake an Evaluation, often referred to as a Post Implementation Review (PIR). This allows the business to identify the level of success of the project and list any lessons learned for future projects.
Evaluation is often carried out by an independent person to provide an unbiased opinion of the project outcome. The first step is to review the project performance to determine whether the project delivered the benefits, met the objectives, operated within the scope, and produced the deliverables on time, within budget and using the allocated resources. The review also needs to determine whether the project conformed to the management processes specified in Terms of Reference. It should also identify the key project achievements, failures and any lessons learned for future reference. The evaluation should review how the project performed against each of the targets set during the Initiation and Planning phases of the project, ie has the project:
- Delivered the business benefits described in the Business Case?
- Achieved the objectives specified in the Terms of Reference?
- Deviated from the original scope as defined in the Terms of Reference?
- Met the quality targets defined in the Quality Plan?
- Proceeded according to the planned Delivery Schedule?
- Deviated from the budgeted project expenditure as defined in the Financial Plan?
- Deviated from the forecast resource levels as defined in the Resource Plan?
The next stage is to identify the extent to which the project has conformed to the management processes (as set out in the Terms of Reference) during the Execution phase of the project. These are: Time Management, Cost Management, Quality Management, Change Management, Risk Management, Communications Management and Acceptance Management. Finally, the Evaluation should:
- List the major achievements for this project and describe the positive effect that each achievement has had on the customer's business.
- List any project failures and describe the effects they have had on the customer's business.
- Describe the lessons learned from undertaking this project and list any recommendations for similar projects in the future.
Successful project management models can often be used as templates for future projects.