Your project doesn’t end on a given deadline. It’s not even over after the client sends their final thank you note. Your project officially ends after you’ve done a thorough assessment using a project closure report. A project closure report is the number one way to determine whether or not a project was successful. It’s also the most helpful learning tool for teams who hope to plan their next project based on past insights.  

Keep reading to find out how to write a project closure report, what goes in a project closure checklist, and what it really takes to improve your process over time.

What is a project closure document in project management?

In project management, project closure is a formal written assessment of a project. It documents all phases of project management into one digestible report. Through introspection, a project manager learns what worked and what didn’t. A project closure report also shows proof that the project team delivered what they promised they would in the beginning. 

The importance of project closing strategies

Project managers use a project closure report to analyze the “why” behind each answer. All of these details form a clear picture of what happened and how they can continue to improve in the future. 

Afterward, they compile their findings into a report or document to share with stakeholders, clients, and team members. Because the project manager has worked intimately with all three groups, they have a clear perspective on project results from every angle. 

Plus, anyone on their team with access to the project closure report can find ways to improve their own process in the future. It’s also a great reference point for future projects that include similar tasks or goals. 

And, if you want to get more funding, a document like this can communicate the need for better software, additional team members, or better allocation of resources for future projects using real data.

Given all the benefits, project closure importance should be obvious for every assignment. 

What do I include in a project closure checklist?

In addition to learning about the success or failure of the assignment, every project closure checklist should include all legal and logistical steps needed to tie up any loose ends. Which means no project closure checklist would be complete without:

  • The original project requirements from all stakeholders, including timeline and budget
  • Proof that each requirement was met using data from a project management software
  • Payment due upon services rendered of any outstanding and related supplier, partner, or vendor invoices
  • A holistic performance review for all major sections of the project 
  • An organized folder that includes all related project files and communications to be kept as part of your archive
  • Lessons learned and client feedback, and where managing client relations can be improved
  • Confirmation that the client has received all of their deliverables
  • The release or transfer of any remaining project resources
  • Properly offboarding any one-time partners or freelancers brought on for this specific project

How do you know when you're in the project closure phase?

You know you are in the project closure phase when you’ve completed all of your objectives or the client has terminated the assignment for whatever reason. When managing a project from start to finish, it helps to keep your project KPIs in mind so that your project closure report will expand on major milestones and accomplishments. 

How to use project closure reports to make your next projects better

  1. Refer to your project management software for projected versus actual timelines, budgets, and goals. It’s normal to be slightly over or under your original numbers but large gaps should be a red flag that something has to change. 
  2. See which common roadblocks could have been avoided. Make a plan to safeguard against them in the future. 
  3. Find big picture patterns between this and other project management lifecycles that need to be corrected. 
  4. Look at your resource allocation and find ways to better distribute workloads across your entire organization using a visual tool like Wrike. 
  5. Review client and team communications such as messaging and file sharing. Streamlined project management tools should help keep track of it all in one accessible place. If you’re not already using one, look for ways to improve your current system so you don’t lose valuable time in the future. 

Create project closure reports using Wrike

Essentially, your project closure project report will break down the success of complex projects using an effective strategy and checklist. Not only will it document your client’s approval, but it will also help your team wrap things up and continue to evolve your process over time. 

If you want to maximize the impact of your project closure report using robust communication tools, visual timelines, and accessible project files, make sure you give Wrike’s two-week free trial a go!