While looking for it, the closest expression I found was 'finishing touches', but that does not really give the same idea.

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    My usual statement is that the project is 80% done. There's thus only 80% remaining. – Hot Licks Nov 13 '15 at 19:05
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    @HotLicks We said that the last 10% of the project takes 90% of the time. – deadrat Nov 13 '15 at 19:14
  • Over the hump is a journey metaphor with a hill in the trail; the message is 'it's all downhill from here'. – John Lawler Nov 13 '15 at 20:59

I'd suggest, the bulk of the work has been done.

bulk: the greater part; main mass or body Random House

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The lion's share seems apt, since it traditionally means "the largest portion, or majority". I've always regarded it as a substantial majority. The following is from Wikipedia... "The early Latin version of Phaedrus begins with the reflection that 'Partnership with the mighty is never trustworthy'. It then relates how a cow, a goat and a sheep go hunting together with a lion. When it comes to dividing the spoil, the lion says, 'I take the first portion because of my title, since I am addressed as king; the second portion you will assign to me, since I’m your partner; then because I am the stronger, the third will follow me; and an accident will happen to anyone who touches the fourth'." I should add that even though the lion claims 4 of 4 portions in the story, the expression isn't commonly held to refer to the entirety of something, but only the largest part.

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    There's something not quite apt about this usage. If your boss asked how much work had been done on the project, would you answer "the lion's share"? That trope is about dividing the rewards. – deadrat Nov 13 '15 at 19:17
  • That's the genesis of the expression for sure, but it's evolved to mean simply "the largest portion". I've used the expression in that sense many a time, saying things like "the lions share is complete; I just need to polish it and we'll be good to go." – Misneac Nov 13 '15 at 19:21
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    I could be convinced by evidence. Do you have any evidence besides your own manner of speaking? – deadrat Nov 13 '15 at 19:31
  • From columbiaseminary dot edu: 1. Lion's Share: Originally meant 100% or the entire portion. However, these days, the term “lion's share” typically means “most” or the “larger portion.” If I said that Bob did the lion's share of the work, it means that Bob did most of the work. That's not what it meant originally. The phrase comes from Aesop's fable “The Lion's Share.” In this fable the lion got the whole thing, not just most of it. So, with great sadness, I lay the old definition “the whole thing” to rest, sadly accept the new use (misuse) of the phrase to mean most, or the larger part. – Misneac Nov 13 '15 at 20:02
  • Sorry, I was unclear. I accept that "the lion's share" has come to mean the larger part instead of its original meaning of the entire thing. But I think share here means to apportion to claimants on the division of something of value. So I might claim the lion's share of the credit for mowing the lawn, leaving minor credit for others, but I wouldn't say the lion's share of the lawn had been mowed if there was a patch left to mow. – deadrat Nov 13 '15 at 20:10

Let me suggest several more options.

almost there

Soon to be or nearly finished with some goal or task.


good as done

the same as being done; almost done.


You could say, The project is as good as done or We're almost there with the project.

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If the closest expression you could find is "finishing touches," then perhaps the idiom that most suits your situation is "I [or we] just need to tie up a few loose ends."

Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997) has this entry for loose ends:

loose ends Unfinished details, incomplete business. For example, We're not quite finished the project; there are still some loose ends. The expression alludes to the ends of a rope or cable that should be fastened. {Mid-1800s.}

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