PERSPECTIVE: Yet another closure

iStock_000000055760XSmallAgreed-on work has been completed. Yet more and more change’s requests are coming. The project is due but the work does not seem to finish. The client is shouting and project team members are whining. No body is happy and the project is heading toward failure!

One big reason behind this situation might be not not having a formal closure for the project . according to widely published IT statistics from John Hopkins University; 30% of IT projects never reach a fruitful conclusion1.

It is implicitly understood that one of the defining features of a project is that it is finite – it has a start and an end. If the project loses this distinctiveness, loses some of its advantages over purely operational it management approaches. in PMP the project should have definite beginning and ending, in PRINCE2 a project should have a finite and defined life cycle.

So why we need to close a project? The following points make “Closing” a fundamental principle in project management:

  1. provides a useful opportunity to take stock of achievements
  2. Provides an opportunity to ensure that all unachieved goals and objectives are identified
  3. Is always more successful than the natural tendency to drift into operational Management

Theoretically, closing a project is a matter of fact. However, practically it is not. Closing a project does not always come after the completion of planned work. Projects are always subject to closure whenever their business cases are no longer viable. Closing a project requires courageous decision, planning, organising , communication and effort from the project manager.

Said that, I believe being able to successfully close the project at the right time is a must  for  successful project managers. I have been called, more than once to handle swinging projects . Surprisingly, the only thing missing was the “Formal Closure”, and guess what? yes I got the credit of turning  them into successful projects just by managing the closure properly.

Conclude your projects, have the courage to say “Sorry, we are closed” and enjoy the taste of success.

1 Integated IT Project Management A Model-Centric Approach by Kenneth R. Bainy

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