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Project closure refers to the process of formally ending a particular project from continuation. It is the act of terminating various activities related to a project. Projects are usually terminated after the intended goals and objectives have been fully met or achieved when the management of the project realizes that the set goals or objectives may not be achieved or due to a change in strategies of the organization (Pinto 2010).

Additionally, other reasons as to why projects may be terminated include increased costs or additional expenses incurred during execution of project activities, withdrawal of donors who provide funds to the project, and misappropriation of project funds. Kerzner asserts that termination of the project is equally important as its start (2009). This is because projects that are terminated after successfully meeting their objectives are considered successful whereas those projects that are pre-maturely closed are often considered failed projects.

Premature Termination

Differences between closing a project that has met its objectives and premature termination. For projects that are terminated after meeting their objectives, there is always a post-implementation review. This usually involves evaluating and monitoring the continuation of the project after it has been finished. The post-implementation review usually examines the ability of the project to continue delivering the intended benefits to the stakeholders. However, projects that are terminated prematurely do not have post-implementation reviews.

When a project is closed after meeting its objectives, the total costs incurred are calculated, summed up, and compared to the budgeted or forecasted costs. This is referred to as financial auditing of the project. In contrast, projects that are terminated prematurely due to changes in organizational strategies may not require a comparison of total costs incurred and projected costs. This is because the change in objectives is the main reason for termination and not insufficient or misuse of project funds.

Additionally, when a project is terminated successfully, the project management team often hands over management of the project to the clients, for example, community leaders or government officers. Usually, there is a shift in the management of the project. However, projects that are terminated prematurely cannot be handed over to the clients, and hence no shift in the management of project activities.

Badiru (2009) asserts that projects that are terminated prematurely due to financial or economic constraints may require further funding and intervention in the future. Such projects will remain, dependant, until they are fully finished. On the other hand, projects that are closed after successful completion often become independent and may not require further funding from external sources.

Moreover, projects that are closed successfully may require minimal administrative assistance from the project management team after their completion (Berkun 2011). The operational team may continue providing managerial advice and assistance to the client on proper management of the completed project. However, projects that are closed prematurely do not require continued administrative assistance or support from former operational team members.

The Post-implementation Audits

Finally, projects completed successfully often require post-implementation audits to analyze the various aspects of the project lifecycle, for example, the total time is taken, efficient execution of various project activities, efficient management of project resources during its implementation stages as well as effectiveness in strategic planning of the project (Project Management Institute 2008).

On the other hand, projects that are closed early before their completion may be audited or evaluated to identify or find out the various reasons that might have led to its failure or termination. The findings can then be used for re-planning and improving the project. Such evaluations often give suggestions on appropriate measures to be taken after the premature termination of the project.


In my opinion, regardless of whether a project is closed after meeting its set goals and objectives or it is terminated prematurely, it is important for the project manager to communicate to the project stakeholders the reasons or factors behind the project closure. This entails the preparation of the project closure report.

For projects that are terminated after meeting their objectives, the project closure report must have all the necessary documentation such as operation manuals, project deliverables as well as contractor details, and sources of resources that the project would require in the future.

On the other hand, project closure reports for projects that are terminated prematurely must contain a detailed explanation of the reasons as to why the project was terminated, the various challenges encountered during execution of project activities, and recommendations or suggestions for possible measures that may be taken in future to manage or tackle such challenges and problems.

Finally, in both successful and premature termination, all contractual obligations must be met, for example, all outstanding debts to suppliers of materials used must be paid.

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