If you and your client decide to terminate the project because it was satisfactorily completed, or for a technical reason, or because of a sudden interruption, then be sure to terminate it in a way that maintains a respectful relationship. Consider these guidelines.
Produce a Final Project Report
Both you and your client should complete a final project report. It might describe the outcomes of the Project Evaluation, and your decisions as a result. The report might reference your Project Plan.
Conduct a Final Meeting
You both should arrange a final meeting, in which you discuss the results of the Project Evaluation, including to acknowledge – and celebrate – the project’s accomplishments. Be prepared to share each of your own versions of “goodbye.” That is very important.
Complete a Formal Letter of Closure
You should follow up the meeting with a formal correspondence that affirms your mutual agreement that the project is formally over. In that correspondence, you should mention the date that you both agreed as the official end date, if it is not the ending date on the signed contract.
Organize Your Administrative Files
You should attend to administrative matters to close the project, for example, final invoices and closing the file for that client.
Arrange to Stop All Meetings About the Project?
You might consider stopping any further meetings about the project itself. That might seem a bit arbitrary, but it can actually be a very healthy practice, to avoid project creep and to avoid an ongoing, unhealthy dependency between you and your client. If your client wants to continue meeting with you about the project, then consider cycling back to the Contracting Phase to start a new project.
Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD — Authenticity Consulting, LLC. This article was adapted from one of the many downloadable handouts in the Consultants Development Institute’s online series Collaborative Consulting Training.