UMass Boston

Project Closing Phase


  • Concludes all project activities
  • Administratively closes the project
  • Turns the delivered product or service over to customer or a support group
  • Assesses project outcomes and team performance
  • Documents best practices and lessons learned
  • Celebrates project success


The purpose of the closing phase in the project management lifecycle is to confirm completion of project deliverables to the satisfaction of the project sponsor, and to communicate final project disposition and status to all participants and stakeholders.  Project closure ensures that all participants and stakeholders to the project are informed of follow-on activities (e.g. new projects, service transitions, SLAs, etc.), and have sufficient opportunity to communicate and coordinate with related projects and/or production service owners.   Closing activities must also include identification and capture of lessons learned and best practices, and archival of these organizational process assets (OPA’s) in ServiceNow for subsequent reference, organizational learning and reuse.

The PMO Director can provide Project Managers various levels of service in the Closing Phase including:

  • Consult with appropriate teams to transition the project to operations
  • Facilitate Project Closure/Lessons Learned Meetings
  • Consult on completing the Project Closure Report
  • Brainstorm team celebration ideas
  • Critical Success Factors
  • Pre-defined user acceptance criteria
  • Business objectives and anticipated benefits are achieved
  • Project objectives are achieved
  • Knowledge transfer is achieved
  • Project materials are archived

Closing Processes Activities

  • Obtain acceptance of the project deliverables.
  • Hand off operations and support responsibilities.
  • Document the lessons learned over the course of the project.
  • Formalize closure.  Obtain sign-off from project sponsor and project manager.

Duties of the Project Manager in the Closing Phase

  • For a completed project, the Project Manager is responsible to:
  • Schedule and conduct a Project Closure/Lessons Learned Meeting  
  • Complete the Project Closure Report with input from the project team.  The report will confirm in writing from the project sponsor and/or customers that the project is complete
  • Complete the Project Closeout Checklist
  • Complete a Service Transition Report (if applicable)
  • Conduct the Project Satisfaction Survey (Appendix F) and review results.
  • Close and deactivate the project in ServiceNow (Required)
  • Arrange for an appropriate celebration of the work completed.  Remember to have fun! (Optional , but recommended)

Deliverables of the Closing Phase:

Project Closure Meeting

The Project Manager should schedule and facilitate a Project Closure Meeting with the Project Manager, Project Sponsor, Project Owner and the entire Project Team.  The questions that should be answered in the Project Closure Meeting are:

If the project work is completed:

  • Did we accomplish all of the agreed upon objectives in this project?   Has this been communicated to all project stakeholders?
  • What follow up work will be required of future projects?
  • How do we "operationalize" the project, so that on-going support is provided (if necessary)? At the end of the Closing Phase which operations group will take over the support or administration of the product or service?
  • What lessons did we learn from this project?
  • Does the project team know that their hard work was appreciated?

If the project has been cancelled or suspended:

  • What are the reasons for cancelling or suspending the project?
  • Are there any plans to reactivate the project in the future?

Project Closure Report

After the Project Closure Meeting the Project Manager must produce a Project Closure Report using the Project Closure Report template contained in Appendix D. 

 The purposes of the Project Closure Report are:

  • Measures how closely the project met customer needs
  • Identifies what worked well on the project and what needs improvement
  • Documents any deviations from the original plan and identify causes
  • Articulates methods for improvement
  • Formulates lessons learned and best practices from feedback

The Project Closure Report should document Lessons Learned during the project lifecycle.  Examples of lesson learned could include but not limited to the following:

  • Project Change Management Process
  • Project Estimation
  • Project Resources (scope, schedule, budget, resources)

For each lessoned learned, if applicable, an action item should be identified within the description.  For example, a line item added to the project plan template to prevent recurrence of the issue, a suggestion for the Project Charter, etc.  Project Managers should be reminded to always download the most current project templates. 


A project is officially completed when the Project Closure Report is formally accepted and approved by the Project Sponsor(s) and other designated stakeholders.  The formal sign-off and approval of this document acknowledges that all of the project deliverables are complete, reviewed and accepted.   The approval marks agreement among all stakeholders that the project is completed.  This step can be viewed as the final project management milestone.

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