Project closure checklist: 8 steps to project peace of mind (+ free template)

Project closure checklist in Google Sheets

Your project is coming to a close and it’s time to wrap things up. Ironically, and because so much effort goes into planning a project, we often forget that it’s equally important to close-out projects properly and diligently. If not, what’s the point?

That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive project closure checklist, so you don’t miss a beat, and your key stakeholders won’t be left with any questions about deliverables and outcomes.

What is a project closure checklist?

A project closure checklist (or project closeout checklist) is used by project managers when formally closing a project. It exists to make sure the correct project closure activities are carried out, the appropriate project closure documents are used, and project closure reports are shared with relevant stakeholders. It helps the project team assess if all tasks were completed and if the project delivered its intended outcomes.

Now that we know what a project closure checklist is, let’s look at how you can close out a project like a pro.

Your 8-step project closure checklist 

Use this closure checklist to make sure you covered the most important aspects of the project closure process.

1. Tie up loose ends

Project closure activities:

  • Review the original project plan and create a wrap-up plan with any closing tasks as needed
  • Review and assign outstanding tasks
  • Let your team know about any final meetings

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

2. Wrap up admin tasks

Project closure activities:

  • Review and update project documentation, contracts, and assets
  • Close out external contracts and pay outstanding invoices
  • Finalize project finances
  • Transfer over deliverables to stakeholders

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

  • Project closure documents (contracts, assets.)
  • All project closure deliverables
  • Closing project budget
  • Project closure communication email (external)

3. Close the loop with stakeholders

Project closure activities:

  • Book a closing meeting with stakeholders
  • Get all stakeholders to agree on project completion (try to get this in writing too!)
  • Send your final report to stakeholders and gather feedback via a survey or questionnaire

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

4. Provide the next steps to your project team

Project closure activities:

  • Confirm that the project is closing and release final payments
  • Share the date of the project retro, evaluation meeting, or post-mortem meeting if the project was a failure, alongside any preset questions you’d like your team to answer
  • Release project resources, including team members, external contractors, or other partners

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

5. Hold a project evaluation meeting (or post-mortem)

Project closure activities:

  • Let everyone know there are no wrong answers or stupid questions
  • Reintroduce the project plan with the entire timeline
  • Give every team member a chance to provide feedback and thank everyone for participating

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

  • Project scope
  • Project plan
  • Project timeline

6. Map out improvements for future projects

Project closure activities:

  • Collate team and stakeholder feedback and any other project analysis
  • Create a roadmap to help you improve your future systems, processes, and deliverables
  • Share a draft version with your team, and ask for their feedback before finalizing the roadmap

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

  • Stakeholder and client feedback questionnaires 
  • Other project analysis
  • Draft improvement roadmap
  • Team feedback 

7. Index documentation

Project closure activities:

  • Archive documentation and processes to refer to later

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

  • Contracts
  • Project scope
  • Project schedule
  • Expected vs. actual costs
  • Timeline

8. Celebrate your team

Project closure activities:

  • Take the time to recognize everyone’s efforts and hard work
  • Celebrate in a way that suits your team

Project closure documents, deliverables, or tools required:

Download your free project closure checklist template

1. Click the link to the free project closure checklist

  • A new tab or window will appear, where you’ll see a Google Sheets version of the project closure checklist template
project closure checklist

Here’s what the free project closure checklist should look like when you click the link. It’ll open up automatically in Google Sheets.

2. If you’re comfortable using Google Sheets:

  • Go to “File,” then “Make a copy,” and save it to your own Google drive

3. If you’d rather download a Microsoft Excel project closure checklist template:

  • You can go to “File”, choose “Download”, and select “Microsoft Excel”
  • From there, a copy of the file will save to your “Downloads” folder, and you can open it or move it to your preferred file folder

4. Once you’re ready to go, populate the relevant sections, in this case:

  • Project name
  • Project manager
  • Start date
  • End date

5. Once done, you can start tweaking the template based on your project needs, such as:

  • Add steps and activities to the project closeout process
  • Add additional documents, deliverables, and tools needed
  • Update the status for each step

Fine-tune your project closeout checklist

Your project closure checklist for project management will look slightly different depending on the type of project you’re managing.

Use this project closure checklist as a starting point, and then fine-tune and polish it as needed depending on the type of project, resources involved, stakeholders, and other project-specific attributes.