There can be many moving parts in a project, and your project management office needs to know how to wind them up at the end of a project. An important step is to check the documentation and contracts when your PMO closes a project.

The primary role of a PMO during the whole project closing process is to ensure project managers go through the motions and finalise all the project details. Closing a project has a lot of compliance issues, so your office should work to have a smooth process, including a detailed document and contract review.

With that, we’re going to look at:

  • Why you should run a document and contract review
  • Who will be involved with the review process
  • The steps to take during your contract and document review to close a project

So you can move through the rest of the process to close out your project.

Why does my PMO need to run a document and contract review for a project?

Once your project manager has transferred deliverables and had all your stakeholders sign off on the project, you need to go about tying up loose ends.

Reviewing documents and contracts as you close a project is an important piece of due diligence. You are reducing the risk that an invoice will come in after a budget has been finalised.  Legal liabilities for not complying with contract terms should also significantly reduce.

Being proactive in request and paying final invoices, formally closing a contract, and generally communicating with your contractors, suppliers, and freelancers will maintain strong relationships.

A review of all the payments in a project can also tidy up issues like subscriptions for services specific to the project. For example, you may have increased your plan to a communications tool or a document sharing tool to facilitate a project, and you could now decrease your monthly outgoings.

Who needs to work on a document and contract review with my PMO?

The overall process of a document and contract review should be managed by project managers and be overseen by your PMO. These are the people who should be involved in a document and contract review:

  • The project manager should be aware of who suppliers and contractors are and can undertake communications to request final invoices and expenses.
  • The accounting department needs to check invoices and ensure that all payments have been made to suppliers.
  • The legal department should make a final review of contracts to ensure both your company, suppliers, and other stakeholders have all complied with obligations.
  • People who supplied the project will need to be engaged to confirm that everything is settled in terms of finances and final work.

How to complete a document and contract review to close a project

The document and contract review can take a little time, with other business areas being involved with the work. It’s prudent to plan ahead and warn departments that you may need resources – when you start to request sign-off and give deadlines for approval is a good time to prepare for this stage.

The steps that should be included in your PMO’s process for this stage are:

  • Review supplier lists to know who may still have outstanding payments
  • Send a request to all external suppliers to ask for final invoices and any other business
  • Make a request to the accounting department to ensure all invoices are paid and reconciled
  • Ask the legal department to review all obligations and report on any action to take

The first two stages of project closing that we’ve looked at – transferring deliverables and requesting sign-off and approval – need to be completed sequentially. However, the process of reviewing contracts and documents may be ongoing, e.g. waiting for replies from suppliers or for a report from legal.

You can start to move on with other steps of the project with this review going on in the background until you’re ready to conduct a project review.

Closing a project – document and contract review

Checking over the document and contracts when closing your project ensures that all the loose ends get tied up. You can limit the financial and legal liability on your PMO and the business by making sure that everything is paid up and any other actions that were promised in contracts and agreements are fulfilled.