Task: Prepare for Phase Close-Out
This task describes how to prepare the project for the end of a phase, and prepare materials for the Lifecycle Milestone Review.
Disciplines: Project Management
Main Description

The end of a Phase represents a point of synchronization (of technical and management expectations) and closure for a project, and it coincides (more or less) with the end of an iteration. However, unlike other iterations, the iteration that terminates a phase should leave few loose ends and issues to be carried forward into the next iteration (which will be in the next phase). Indeed, phase ends mark a point at which it is possible to consider re-scoping and even re-contracting a project. For example, the inception phase is exploratory and may be appropriately performed under a time-and-materials or cost-plus type of contract. The elaboration phase could be done as a fixed-price or cost-plus contract, depending on the degree of novelty of the development. Enough is known about the system by the construction and transition phases that fixed-price contracts are more appealing to acquirer and vendor.

The phase end is marked by a major milestone, at which a Lifecycle Milestone Review is conducted. This is intended to achieve concurrence among all stakeholders on the current state of the project. These reviews are usually formal and are conducted with some ceremony, to demonstrate to all stakeholders that the aims of the phase were achieved. The end of the transition phase is marked by the Product Release Milestone. Also Project Acceptance Review. The phase-end actions for the transition phase are covered in Task: Prepare for Project Close-Out.

The Project Manager will have planned, going into the final iteration of the phase, to have all required work products ready for the Lifecycle Milestone Review. However, there will still be an Task: Assess Iteration and an Task: Iteration Acceptance Review before the Lifecycle Milestone Review is held. If the iteration has gone well, there will be little to do in this task (Prepare for Phase Close-Out) other than distributing phase-end work products to stakeholders. The project manager may decide that certain issues arising from the Iteration Assessment or issues remaining in the Issues List need to be addressed before the Lifecycle Milestone review, and cannot be carried over into the next phase. This means that, in effect, a micro-iteration will occur, in which selected problems will be fixed and issues resolved, although in terms of workflow, this can be considered an extension of the final iteration.

Check Status of Required Work Products

The Project Manager will check each of the work products required for the phase end, using information from the latest Iteration Assessment and Status Assessment. Where there are open issues or problems that the Project Manager believes would prevent a successful Lifecycle Milestone Review, work is initiated to resolve them, before the work products are distributed to the stakeholders.

Work Products Required

Schedule Configuration Audits

If required, the Project Manager arranges for functional and physical configuration audits to be conducted according to Perform Configuration Audit .

Conduct a Phase Post-Mortem Review

Once any tasks triggered by Check Status of Required Work Products have been completed, the Iteration Assessment can be amended to reflect the improved state. A post-mortem review is then held to determine whether the project is ready for the Lifecycle Milestone Review. The Iteration Assessment for the previous iteration, and the Issues List are again examined to make sure any residual issues are understood and it will be acceptable to the stakeholders to carry them forward. If any product was delivered to the customer for operational use in the current phase, then ensure that any required installation, training and transition tasks have progressed acceptably.

If the phase end is also the end of the current contract (with the intent to re-contract for the next phase), the Project Manager will settle the project's finances, making sure all payments have been received and all suppliers and subcontractors paid. Organizational policy or other regulatory requirement may also require a more formal audit process at contract termination, covering the project's finances, budgeting process, and assets.

The Project Manager produces a Status Assessment that captures the results of the phase post-mortem review and the configuration audits, in preparation for the Lifecycle Milestone Review.

Distribute Work Products to Stakeholders

Some time before the Lifecycle Milestone Review is to scheduled to be held, the Project Manager provides all stakeholders with copies of the work products which are to be considered at the Lifecycle Milestone Review. In a very formal contractual environment, the delivery of work products may well be contractually required to occur some weeks before the review. However, the Rational Unified Process recommends that the stakeholders be involved and engaged in the project to such a degree (in joint technical and management reviews, for example) that these deliveries should not be controversial; the stakeholders would already be familiar with the delivered material. They will have visibility of the evolution of the work products through the project's iterations. Even so, given the formal nature of these deliveries, the Deployment discipline will ensure that proper regard is given to packaging, labeling, installation, transition, and so on.

Work Products Required

Complete Lifecycle Milestone Review Action Items

There may be some remaining actions following the Lifecycle Milestone Review, and sanction to begin the next phase may be conditional upon these. The Project Manager initiates work to resolve these items.