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12.5: Project Closure

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  • Learning Objectives

    1. Describe the procedures for closing out contracts.
    2. Describe the elements and purpose of the postproject review process.
    3. Identify the types of documents that should be archived.
    4. Identify the objectives of the project closeout celebration.

    Team members who were excited by the project in its early stages may find it difficult to maintain their focus to complete the project. They might already be looking forward to the next project. Bringing a project to an end requires a different management style that focuses on details as well as an analysis of the decisions that were made.

    Closeout Procurement Contracts

    The last stage of the project procurement cycle includes the payment of the bills and closing of procurement contracts.

    Contracts with Suppliers

    Suppliers provide commodities that should meet standards of quality. The project team must check the records of deliveries made and determine that they were acceptable quality. If any items were rejected for poor quality or not delivered, the final payment is adjusted accordingly.

    Punch Lists and Performance Tests

    If a vendor is providing a service or building something for the project, there are usually items that must be fixed or mistakes that must be corrected before the contract is complete. On a software project, performance tests are run on the software, usually by the people who will be using the software, and any performance expectations not met are noted. Sometimes the expectations were not captured in the project scope of work and sometimes the performance did not meet the expectations established in the scope. If the items were not in the scope of work and the owner wants the work done, then the owner typically issues a change order. If the expectations were in the scope of work, the contractor is still responsible for completing the work.

    On a project to build a new house, the owner might go through the house looking for minor items not completed by the contractor. Before the contract is closed, any minor items that need to be repaired or completed are placed on a punch list, which is a list of all the items found by the owner that still remain to be done. The project team will then work on all of the items on the list, building a small schedule to complete the remaining work.

    If the number of items on the punch list is too large or the amount of work is significant, the project team continues to work the project. Once the punch list becomes smaller, the project manager begins closing down the project, maintaining only enough staff and equipment to support the team that is working the punch list.

    Transfer to Customer or Sponsor

    If the product of the project is a building, software system, or something that must be operated and maintained by someone else, it must be turned over to the people who will be responsible for it after the project is complete. They might perform their own inspection to determine if the project team has met its goals for quality and that all elements of the project are complete. These performance tests are typically identified in the original project contract.

    Final Payments

    The final payment is usually more than a simple percentage of the work that remains to be completed. Completing the project might involve fixing the most difficult problems that are disproportionately expensive to solve, so the final payment should be large enough to motivate the vendor to give the project a high priority so that the project can be completed on time.

    If the supplier has met all the contractual obligations, including fixing problems and making repairs as noted on a punch list, the project team signs off on the contract and submits it to the accounting department for final payment. The supplier is notified that the last payment is final and completes the contractual agreement between the supplier and the project.

    Overtime Needed to Complete Project and Earn Final Payment

    The building automation vendor devoted additional personnel and paid them overtime wages to troubleshoot the problems and get them resolved so the building could open on time. When the project team was satisfied, they approved the system and the final payment.