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Project Management

Transition/Closure Phase

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PMP Chart 16





By Karen Garner (MBA Student, UoPhx, MGT 573, 2007)




       Closure is the final phase of the Project and includes formal project acceptance and completing any requirements to end the project.  There is a project review and evaluation by the team participants and stakeholders.  This review focuses on the lessons participants learn from their project experiences.  These lessons are beneficial for future projects and project teams.  If the lessons are appropriate to project management methodology, then it is good to distribute experiences among the entire project management network. 


In this phase, there is documentation of and planning for any deliverables under consideration for post implementation.  Completion of closeout tasks and any applicable closing of contracts occur.  After obtaining the final Project Sign Off, the Project Manager completes requirements for archiving appropriate documentation.



Flow Chart for Closeout



(PNC, 2003)




            The closure phase begins during project implementation so that an orderly plan of action leads to a successful project closure.  Normally members of the project team move on to a new project or return to a previous project involvement.  Sometimes members of the team divert away from projects altogether, with prior notice occurring in the interview process. 




            A variety of meetings often regularly take place in this phase.  Small project closures may be final immediately after qualification of potential customers and pursuance of further courses of action.  Members of the team move on to new projects after finishing their job responsibilities.




            New Project Assignments – Members of the project team move on to a new project or return to some previous project involvement after completing their job responsibilities..


            Analysis the Closing Project – Analyze all elements of original project planning, which include hazards, functionality, timeline and expense estimations.


            Set a Pre-Deliverables Meeting with Owner – Make sure the owner understands all the project schedules and indicate the team members’ tasks and baselines for closure.  It is also good to recheck all items necessary for closure.


            Set Closing Project Meeting with members of the Team and Executives – Make sure that stoppage occurs for all tasks related to the project and evaluate all spending for the project.

Honor members of the project team for completing their tasks successfully and offer them some type of compensation.


            Write a Final Project Analysis to Present to the Owner and Executives – The written analysis should incorporate ending project timeline, expenses, and beneficial elements of project conclusions.  In addition, look at the original baseline to determine how the actual results compare.


·       Compare actual to budget plan

·       Compile lessons everyone learns from the project to aid future projects

·       Keep computerized file of the closure analysis to provide historical data that may be of use later.


(TrainersDirect, n.d.)


            The following are tables that indicate tasks and responsibilities of Project Management, Technical Management and Post-Project Support in the Closure Phase:


Legend                        Meaning

PO                 Project Owner

DCRP            Director or Customer’s representative for the Project

AC                 Architect or Consultant

CEP               Construction Executive for the Project

PA                 Powers of Authority

**                  Denotes primary responsibility

++                  Denotes significant supporting responsibility


Management of Project







Advice on expected date of transfer to customer






Maintaining and Operating Books of Instruction






Connecting and integrating with head of operating team to arrange






Procure warranties/guarantees






Procure “Construction Blue Prints”






All systems for commission, balance and test coordination






Procure the proper permission and certificates for occupying






Coordinate acquiring and approving the finished product






Hand over the final product to the customer for maintenance and ownership






Coordinate for final project photography and press requirements






Coordinate grand opening






Plan ideal date schedule for Total Performance






Certify any defects and completion of unfinished contracts






Approve paying the final contractor bills






Pay the final contractor bills






Final financial performance






Management of Technical Work







Determine closure defect lists






Certify all defects are taken care of by the contractors






Certify all operations manuals are complete






Certify the accuracy of all warranties or guarantees






Certify accuracy of “Construction Blue Prints”






Oversee all systems for commission, balance and testing






Give necessary help in training operators






Connect and integrate with Powers of Authority






Give advice to customer during the operation startup






Analyze and determine defects for verification of Total Performance






Deliver the Total Performance Certification






Certify reception of warranties, guarantees, operation manuals and documents






Verify Operation Total Performance and advise holdback releases






 Help After the Project







Help with necessary speed of delivery of warranty/guarantee items






Perform a Project Management audit after project closure






Give helpful advice with ongoing technical requirements







(Wideman, 2007)




            For maintenance and operations planning, it is important to give an accurate analysis of the product or services that require maintaining and the criteria to maintain the deliverables as well as operation tasks.


            Provide the amount of cost or expenditure necessary to maintain the deliverables and operation tasks. In addition, provide the necessary skills and requirements to comply.  There are special skill requirements for doing the work properly.  The official person to contact, the leader of the team for maintaining the product/service and production requirements, primary technology provider, necessary documents, trainers and any additional necessary help are other primary role requirements.


            There are key standards for performing maintenance tasks and for performance of the product or service as well as data on capturing and reporting these standards.  In addition, identify new ideas for developing maintenance requirements and other alterations of business strategies.


            The involvement of stakeholders and keeping them informed about maintenance and operations activities is necessary.  In addition, set communication methods with key stakeholders


            It is important to identify new procedures, work flows and methods for controlling change and management structure, identity of problems, support of the customer, tests of the lifecycle, identity of hazards and resolutions, methods for sharing information, record retention areas, recovery from major crises, and securing employees and facilities.


            Finally, details on regulatory methods for documents and what to expect are necessary as well as a description of the documentation for presentations and users, crises and altering information, and documenting the products or services (Maintenance and Operations Plan, 2007).




            Project closure seethes in anticlimax.  It is like the Super Bowl.  The players are there; the coaches are there; and all the stakeholders, including the fans are there.  However, something is not quite the same.  It is like tasting something stale.  Projects neglect the Project Closure Phase where an exact stance for proper methodology does not occur.  Even in huge corporations that have proper Project Management methodologies, this is the case.  Some call this phase “The Phantom Phase” that lingers on for a while.  When nobody steps up and takes responsibility for its execution, it escapes like a gas into nothingness, abandoning some important aspects of the project such as measurements, issues, reviews, and client permissions (Ajani, 2003).


            However, the Project Closure Process design is to end the project. Its purpose is twofold: First, to make all stakeholders knowledgeable on project results and team performance in a formal manner and to solicit feedback from the customer.  Second is internal to project managers who strive for consistency in alignment with project management standards; to create a central historical database for all project documents as lessons and experiences to aid future projects (Lewandowski, 2003).


            Monitoring the operations after closure and follow-up maintenance and operation activities’ support ensures the organization runs smoothly after transitioning of the project. This creates a bond with the customer and ensures the customer that the project is receiving maintenance back-up and operations support.





Ajani, S. (2003).  Project Closure – The Phantom Phase. The CEO Refresher.!saclosure.html. Retrieved March 02, 2007.


Lewandowski, T. (2003). Closure Phase.  Zone Enterprises.  Retrieved March 02, 2007.


PNC. (2003). Guiding Principles for Project Management Best Practices.  Retrieved March 1,



Maintenance and Operations Plan (2007). 

            Retrieved March 4, 2007.


Project Executive Group. (2007). Project Completion, Closure and Claims Management

 Services.  Retrieved March 2, 2007.


TrainersDirect. (n.d.) Close/Audit Phase. 

 Retrieved March 2, 2007.


Wideman, M. (2007). Project Commissioning & Finishing.  Retrieved March 2, 2007.





Closure Phase and Operations/Maintenance Phase

 By Tasha Palmer (MBA Student, UoPhx, 2007)



Closure Phase


The final and last phase of the project is the closure phase.  This phase will ensure that the project has a controlled end.  The project manager closes by:


·       releasing the final deliverables to the customer,

·       presenting documentation to the business,

·       releasing resources, and

·       communicating closure to the stakeholders (


In other words, completing all of the project objectives determines the start of the closure phase.  Successfully meeting all of the objectives will produce maximum knowledge, momentum, and good will from the project that can benefit future projects ( 


The closure phase includes five steps:


1. Post implementation review

2. Staffing transfer/release

3. Financial closure

4. Project archive and

5. Celebration


Step 1 - Post implementation review


The post implementation review evaluates how successful the project was using the project objectives.  It also evaluates how effective the project management practices were in keeping the project on track (  The evaluation report will include:


  • project sign-off

  • staffing and skills

  • project organizational structure

  • schedule management

  • cost management

  • customer expectations


Step 2 - Staffing transfer/release


Staffing transfer refers to staff or responsibility changes made by the project manager while approaching the end of the project.  Since a full staff is not needed as the projects ends, management will have to re-allocate staff to new projects.  The staffing transfer method reduces the risk of losing project staff prematurely (  It show professional courtesy and reduces the disappointment in employees. 


Step 3 - Financial closure


Financial closure is exactly how it sounds.  It completes the project’s financial transactions and finalizes and financial accounts.  This step is important because a project cannot close until the transactions are complete.  This way management is able to pay outstanding bills.  Financial closure also compares against budgeted costs. 


Step 4 - Project archive


Project Archives is the storing of documents at the end of a project.  It is important to keep project documents because it can assist in future projects. 


Step 5 – Celebration


Celebrating acknowledges the completion of the project.  It also recognizes the project team for doing a great job.  Celebrating gives the team an opportunity to feel good about their accomplishments.  It also gives the team incentive to make sure the project meets its objectives. 


Operations/Maintenance Phase


This phase describes the process used to define resources and processes needed to sustain the project’s business outcome after implementation (  The completion of the operations/maintenance phase is in the execution phase.  This is where the project manager creates roles and responsibilities to develop an approach.  The approach will include:


  • determine maintenance planning needs,

  • tasks associated with developing the final plan,

  • costs associated with maintenance,

  • identify key players,

  • roles and responsibilities of individuals,

  • timelines, and

  • impacts on other parts of the project.


The operations/maintenance phase is important, because in most cases the project's objective is to support businesses that are to operate long-term. 


References: (2007).  Project Management Methodology.  Retrieved on March 6, 2007    from (2007).  Project Management Framework.  Retrieved on March 6, 2007 from


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