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Celebration of the close of a project. Clip art people with party hats & streamers,

How to shut down a project – in a dignified way

The day you probably thought you would never live to see has finally arrived – you have a final end-date for your project. So how do you close your project in a controlled way, instead of just shutting up shop on the final day (I have seen that happen!).
Here are six steps to follow:

1.       Send out notices to all your stakeholders about six weeks before the end date to let them know that the project is coming to an end. Make sure to include your resources’ managers so that they can be scheduled onto their next gig.

2.       Prepare the project close out reports and make sure everything that needs to be signed off by the stakeholders is signed off. This is vitally important as you don’t want to have any problems a year down the line if the customer complains and there is no formal sign off.

3.       If you’re deploying a product that requires ongoing maintenance, formally hand the product over to the support team. Make sure it is documented and signed off (do you sense a recurring theme here?)

4.       Hold a lessons learned session with the project team and as many stakeholders as possible. It’s even better if you can get your customer to attend. Of course if you maintained a lessons learned log you can bring that along to the meeting.

5.       Once the product has been handed over, keep in contact with the customer and the support team for a couple of months in case of any hiccups. It might sound like overkill but it will do your reputation no end of good

6.       Party like it’s 1999! Nothing beats a project close down party. Just make sure it doesn’t get too outrageous! Of course, you built that into your budget at the beginning of the project. If not, then make sure you bring the project in under budget so you’ll have some party money left 🙂

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