Chapter 9 – Project Closure and Evaluation

9.4. Releasing the Resources

team members shaking hands
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Releasing the Project Team

Releasing project team members is an official process. However, it should be noted that at the conclusion of the project, the team is released from the project,  and they will go back to their functional managers or get assigned to a new project. Human Resources could bring the team together to review how each members skills and experience impacted the project.

They may provide an opportunity for a celebration for the project members if the project was a success.  This provides closure as a reward for a job well done.  This could take many forms such as a party, brief vacations, or bonuses awarded.  HR Specialists would facilitate a debriefing of the project and invited feedback about what worked, what did not work, and what would they do next time to improve.  This helps planning for new projects.

The Project Manager will want to keep their managers, Human Resources, or other project managers, informed as they get closer to project completion, so that they have time to adequately plan for the return of their employees. Let them know a few months ahead of time what the schedule looks like and how soon they can plan on using their employees on new projects or return to their prior positions. This gives Human Resources and the other managers the ability to start planning activities and scheduling activity dates.

Human Resources Role for Re-Entry after Project Closure

Human Resources would work with the team prior to the closure of the project to ensure they return to their workplace roles within the company.  This step is a final step in the original plan established for each team member prior to the project initiation.  Each member may have a different outcome for return to work.

  1.  Meet with the Project Manager and team together to develop timelines for return to regular job, dependent on the closure date of the project.
  2. Meet with each team member individually to discuss return to work plan.
  3. Develop a return to work plan for each team member/Project Manager including the job they are return to, return date, salary/benefit discussion, set new goals with employee (some team members may return to their regular jobs, some team members may be assigned to new projects, some team members may be offered promotions).
  4. Depending on the team and project success, team members may wish to have a reference for future.  This can be completed by the Project Manager, with input from Human Resources if they have been directly involved with the project and the team.
  5. Human Resources would inform the Functional Manager of the return date of the team members, advice them to prepare for the return, and ask the Functional Manager to set up a meeting with the team members to update them on any changes that have taken place in the department during the employees absence.
  6. Documentation of the return to work plan is archived.
  7. If the team member was hired externally, the contract is finalized.  Human Resources would ensure the person is paid for all work completed. The individual is terminated.

These step address any anxiety team members may have about returning the workplace.  This is an opportunity to build trust and provide reassurance.  Communication is key, and with the right steps in place, employees will have a smooth transition back to their regular jobs.


Final Payments

The final payment is usually more than a simple percentage of the work that remains to be completed. Completing the project might involve fixing the most difficult problems that are disproportionately expensive to solve, so the final payment should be large enough to motivate the vendor to give the project a high priority so that the project can be completed on time.

If the supplier has met all the contractual obligations, including fixing problems and making repairs as noted on a punch list, the project team signs off on the contract and submits it to the accounting department for final payment. The supplier is notified that the last payment is final and completes the contractual agreement with the project.

Releasing Materials and Equipment

The Project Manager is responsible to ensure all materials not used and all equipment that has been borrowed, leased or rented is returned to the owner.


11.4. Releasing the Resources” from Essentials of Project Management by Adam Farag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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Strategic Project Management Copyright © 2022 by Debra Patterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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