PRINCE2 Process: closing a project

A PRINCE2 project does not simply end upon fulfilment of the project objectives (described in the Project Initiation Documentation). The Project Manager is also responsible for making sure of the following:

  • Project products are delivered and approved;
  • Necessary ongoing maintenance is in place for the products that the project has created;
  • Benefits reviews have been either satisfactorily conducted or planned;
  • Preparations have been carried out to deal with unresolved issues and risks following the project.

closing a project thus entails five activities, which are carried out by the Project Manager, according to the circumstances of project closure:

Prepare planned closure

Before requesting the Project Board’s approval to notify the Project Board of the release of project resources, the Project Manager must confirm that the expected products have indeed been delivered.

This is achieved by entering information about actual products, time, cost etc. into the Project Plan, reviewing the Product Status Account, and checking the Project Product Description to ensure that the project product meets its agreed criteria.

This activity is performed when coming to the end of the final stage.

Prepare premature closure

In some cases, the Project Board may order premature closure of the project. When this occurs, the Project Manager must still seek authorization to release project resources, but before doing so must obtain agreement on how any uncompleted products are to be recovered.

The Project Manager must also enter the appropriate information about the request for project closure into the Issue Register, update the Project Plan with final information about the current actuals, and ascertain the status of the project’s products, by reviewing the Product Status Account.

Hand over products

Handing over products to customers/users can take various forms. In some cases, all products are transferred as a single release at project closure; in other cases, there may be a phased delivery period. In all cases however, the Project Product cannot occur without the agreed acceptance criteria being met. This therefore requires that the appropriate acceptance methods are performed.

Before handing over any product, however, the Project Manager must ensure that adequate preparations for follow-on actions are in place, and confirm that the Benefits Review Plan contains planned reviews for any benefits that cannot be assessed until the product is already in use.

Evaluate the project

The PRINCE2 methodology is not just about the success or failure of a single project. Continuous improvement of project management methodology and techniques, and learning effectively from past lessons both require that the Project Manager evaluate how a project has been conducted, by measuring project actuals against initial expectations. This evaluation, together with a Lessons Report, is recorded in an End Project Report.

Recommend project closure

The Project Board is responsible for recommending that the Project Board closes the project. Upon approval of this recommendation, project resources are released and the project closes. Once this occurs, no further work is carried out on this project.