There’s a free template for you at the bottom of this article.
At the end of your project you should be thinking about wrapping up your work and handing it on to someone else. Otherwise you’ll never get rid of it, and you’ll be the Go To person for ever and a day.
A good project closure document helps that immensely. First, it points out exactly what your project objectives were. Then it describes the success criteria you specified in order to meet those objectives. (Not sure about success criteria? Check out my definitive guide to project success criteria.) You note down how what you did met those success criteria. Stay factual. This is not the place to explain why you are three months late or massively over budget.
To make it clear to everyone concerned, I add a column that shows the variance from the target i.e. how far off you were from meeting the success criteria. That, of course, assumes that you exceeded them or didn’t hit them.
If your project management skills are simply awesome, you can write “n/a” in that box to show that you came in exactly on target.
Finally, there’s some space at the bottom for other closure notes. You’ll find that every project is slightly different and what you need to record changes from project to project. So this section is deliberately vague but it might include:
Info on the suppliers you are using for support and maintenance going forward.
Contact details of relevant internal subject matter experts.
Any outstanding tasks that the operational team are going to have to pick up.
Remember to sign and date it. That gives you a physical record (even if the signatures are electronic) of acceptance into the business by the sponsor and team, so you can move on with a clear conscience. Downloading this template, and any of my other free project management templates, will send you an email to confirm subscription to my newsletter.
It’s full of good tips for managing your projects month-by-month but you don’t have to have it. You can unsubscribe at any time. If you already get it, downloading a template won’t mean you receive 2 copies. Because that would be silly.
And finally: this template is free for you to use in your work but don’t sell it. I’m sure you wouldn’t, but I have to say it anyway.
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