As you draw a project under your project management office (PMO) to a close, you need to release the resources that have been used. Here’s a complete process to releasing resources to close a project so your PMO doesn’t miss a beat.

As with many of the processes to close a completed project, most of the actions will be in the hands of your project managers. However, the processes and documentation should come from your PMO – the data derived from closing projects properly is invaluable to your office.

To help you plan your resource release processes, we’re going to be covering:

  • The reason you need to plan your resource release process
  • The people you need to involved in a successful release of resources
  • What you need to do to get the process running smoothly

So you can have a solid project closing process.

Why is it important to release project resources?

Releasing project resources when a project is finished allows them to be moved on to other projects.

The resources in question could be:

  • Extra office space that was leased for the project
  • Outside contractors who were brought in
  • Staff seconded from inside the business to work on the project

The first benefit of formally releasing resources is that costs also finish. This means that this step should be in conjunction with the last step we looked at; reviewing contracts and documents.

When a supplier or contractor is told the project is completed, it’s also the time to request the final invoice, as per that last step we looked at.

At the same time, you can also prepare for the next phase of closing a project, which is to request feedback. This will be the topic of our next post.

As well at the business benefits, it can also be a positive moment for the people working on the project. They can move on, whether to the next project or back to the team they originally worked on.

Who needs to be involved in releasing resources after finishing a project?

As with any project process, you need to outline exactly who is required to take action. To release resources in a project, you primarily need:

  • The project manager, who will take care of all the actions from the business side
  • The resource owner, such as the supplier or the line manager of a seconded team member
  • The person who has been working on the project and will be released back to their team
  • The HR department, who may need to plan training or catch-ups for the returning staff

Of course, it’ll depend on the resource exactly who will need to be involved.

How do I manage releasing resources when closing a project?

Releasing resources to close a project should be done well in advance, particularly when there are people involved.

When releasing people to another project or back to their usually business unit, work with HR to ensure they get caught up on things like training or local area policy updates. You should also ensure that the person has a debrief session to check they’re happy with their next steps – don’t focus on the project in this conversation.

To release resources back to suppliers, ensure that everything is being returned as agreed in contracts. Having an email template for your PM to use can ensure that the right information is given and a strong relationship is maintained.

It’s worth noting that there may have been resources released much earlier in a project, for example a software developer who was only needed in the opening stages of the project. Be sure to review any early releases from the project so that everything is finished correctly.

How to release resources when closing a project

Our process for releasing resources when closing a project will ensure that your project managers catch all the loose ends and maintain relationships with workers and suppliers.

This will mark the end of the work of nearly everyone on the project, with maybe a project manager and one or two support staff in place to finish up paperwork and close processes.