How to Make Sure the Project is Really Finished

Categories: Management Tips
You've worked for months...maybe even a year or two or three...and you've reached that defining moment. Launch time. Or deployment, or implementation, or customer hand off or whatever you are calling it.  The bottom line is, you think you're done with the project and you're ready to deliver and move on. the project really done?  Is your work really complete?  And have you and your team tied up all of the loose ends?  Some due diligence may be in order to ensure you don't have something rise up bite you later on.

Let's examine a few things to consider for your project closeout checklist...

Are all issues resolved?

Some issues may linger past deployment and as long as you have mutual agreement with the project client then that's fine. The key is to make sure that issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of the customer.

Are all deliverables complete?

Check the project schedule - have you and your team delivered on everything owed to the customer? And do you have documented sign off/acceptance of each deliverable from the customer?  If not, now is the time to go back and get those sign offs...even if its all just in one big email listing each deliverable.

Have you scheduled or conducted a lessons learned session?

This is often overlooked, but it is important and it is extremely helpful. Take advantage of it...even  if all you do is have a one hour call with your project team and customer, do conduct this. The information may be very helpful as early as your very next project.

Are all invoices paid?

Outstanding invoices could be a sign of trouble with the customer.  Are they upset about something or did you not fully deliver?  Find out now and resolve it now prior to implementation so it doesn't hold up final acceptance of the solution.

Do you have final sign off acceptance from the customer?

And finally, do you have that final solution acceptance and sign off or are you ready with an official document in hand?  You'll definitely want to document the project customer's acceptance of your implementation prior to fully closing out the project.


There are a multitude of things to consider and to keep track of when the project is being closed out.  These are just a few of the key things that I know are sometimes overlooked but are very important to followup on. How about our readers?  What do you consider to be some overlooked items that need to be considered when shutting down the project?
This is a guest post from Brad Egeland who is an IT/Project Management consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 9, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad's site at