Saturday, September 15, 2007

What is the Final Output of Project Scope Verification?

Someone once said that "Happiness can exist only in acceptance." Although the statement wasn't referring to project management, project managers are certainly happy when the client accepts the project work results.

The final result or output from the scope verification process is formal acceptance. Formal acceptance happens when the client or sponsor of a project accepts and acknowledges the project phase or major deliverable of the project. Formal acceptance is usually in the form of written documentation.

Formal acceptance may be conditional or complete.
  • Conditional acceptance is usually offered when minor adjustments are necessary. Conditional acceptance is dependent on correcting the work results that don't match the project scope.
  • Complete acceptance occurs when the work results of the project match the scope plan and client expectations. The project requires no changes.
Whether formal acceptance is conditional or complete, you should gather the documentation that reflects the formal acceptance of each phase or deliverable. This documentation includes:
  • The scope statement
    The first component of the formal acceptance documentation is the scope statement. The scope statement is an output from the scope planning process. It is important to include this document because it outlines what the project was supposed to do.

    The scope statement typically has four sections: project justification, a description of the project's product, project deliverables, and project objectives.

    Project justification describes the business need that the project was undertaken to address. It provides the basis for evaluating future trade-offs within the project.

    The description of the project's product is a brief summary of the final outcome of the project. It should present all major aspects of the final product.

    Project deliverables are usually presented in a list of phases whose satisfactory delivery mark the project completion. For example, major deliverables for a computer software project may include a working computer code, a user manual, and a tutorial.

    Project objectives are the quantifiable criteria that determine if the project is successful. They must include at least cost, schedule, and quality measures. Unquantifiable objectives, such as customer satisfaction, involve a great deal of risk.
  • A description of the work results
    The second component of the formal acceptance documentation is a description of the work results. This section outlines exactly what was presented for formal acceptance. It describes what the project produced. The description of the work results will most likely be the largest part of the documentation. This section should include both tangible and intangible items.

    Tangible work results include deliverables such as buildings, roads, computer software programs, or new products. Intangible items are deliverables such as people who are effectively able to apply new training.
  • The details of inspection procedures
    The third component of the formal acceptance documentation includes the details of the inspection procedures. The documentation should explain what you have done to ensure that the project's product meets the original scope. As a PM, you need to provide verification that the project has been properly assessed. In this section of the formal acceptance documentation, include information from the inspection meeting, such as who attended the meeting, what areas were inspected, and the outcome of the meeting.
  • The product acceptance form
    The final component of the formal acceptance documentation is the product acceptance form. This is usually a one-page document that acknowledges the client has signed off the phase or deliverable and accepted the work results. This form should bear the signatures of the project manager and the client.
After gathering the inputs to scope verification, completing the scope verification inspection meeting, and gaining formal acceptance by the client, you need only gather the necessary formal acceptance documentation to complete the process of project scope verification and work results acceptance.

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