Your project is over – now it's time to close out

Use this free, editable project closeout checklist to summarize the results and learnings from your projects, and to recommend clear and actionable next steps

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What is a project close out?

Think of a project close out as a formal conclusion. The close out is usually acknowledged with a project close out meeting, which serves the opposite role of an official project kickoff. In it, project stakeholders are informed about the final status of the project, are briefed about its successes, failures and lessons learned, and alerted if any outstanding tasks remain to be completed.

A project close out can also be accompanied with a report. In this report, the project manager follows a step-by-step project closure checklist to point out which tasks were completed adequately, by whom, and when. The report might also speak to general learnings from the project as noted by the project manager and/or any of the project stakeholders. These learnings could impact the strategic direction or purpose for future projects, but could also provide helpful feedback on the project’s process to improve inefficiencies or sources of friction in subsequent assignments.

What are the key activities of closing a project?

Closing a project is just as important as starting one – walking away with actionable and clear takeaways and next steps cements the importance of a project in your organization and puts all stakeholders on the same page about the project’s status.

Some of the key activities for closing out a project include:

  • Cease all active work being done to build the project (do not end any support work that the project requires if it was intended to be ongoing)
  • Analyze quantitative performance metrics to determine if goals were met
  • Source feedback from those who worked on the project on team process
  • Source feedback from those who were intended to benefit from the project (customers, users, team members, etc.)
  • Summarize all findings in lessons learned during and after the project, pertaining both to the task at hand as well as the process for completing the project
  • Identify recommendations or next steps regarding the continuation or future iterations of the specific project. For example, if you decide the project was a failure, you might decide to re-do it and apply the learnings from the project
  • Present these findings, takeaways, and data points to all stakeholders on the project

What should be in a project completion report?

The product completion report should explain whether or not a project hit its goal, why that happened, and what should be done better in the future. You can follow the example outline below, or access your own copy of it here on Google Docs.

  1. Initial project summary and purpose
  2. The project’s timeline, with notes on whether or not deadlines or deliverables were honored
  3. A chart to outline the goals of the project with the status and a quick explanation of why each goal failed or succeeded
  4. A summary of the project’s success, going in detail about where and why the project was successful or unsuccessful
  5. Lessons learned from a process standpoint to improve efficiency and reduce friction for future projects
  6. Actionable takeaways and next steps regarding this specific project and any future iterations of it

How do you increase accountability in your projects

Trust and accountability work together in a hybrid workplace to make sure autonomy can be achieved. With Qatalog’s projects, you can view project ownership and goal progress.

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