How many times we have seen (in others projects, of course) problems at the end of a project concerning the acceptance of the deliveries?
In many times, this is due to a poor Scope Document.
Reflect upon this: you must agree to “something” with “someone”. I mean, it is just as important agreeing to the specifications (including functional, technical, quality and warranty requirements, with time and cost restrictions) as it is to doing it with the correct stakeholder.
The Scope document is the reference for the whole project. This document must be very clear about what is going to be done and what things are to be excluded (Out of Scope).
Also recall, make references to any assumptions or risks identified at this stage (doing reference in the Risk Management baseline).
Don’t forget the Communication Management requirements (or Reporting Requirements, referring them to the Communication Management baseline).
If you are thinking about using the collaborations of some Client’s people or facilities (i.e. the software licenses will be provided by the Client), please write it in the Resource Management baseline and reference it in your Scope Document.
If any changes need to be made during the project, it will be necessary to agree to a new Scope baseline (in regards to negotiating contract terms with the Client, this is a powerful tool for the Project Director).
Both parts (Client and Provider) must have a very understanding of “what” is going to be made in the Project and “who” is going to be the responsible to approve it (accepting each deliverable). This second point is also very important. It is not possible to change the approver in the middle of the construction phase, because probably the new assigned person will think in a different way to the previous. To avoid this risk, the best is to plan intermediate acceptances, to minimize the time between deliveries, and the risk of changes in Client’s personnel (to be approved by the previous person).
With all this done, you and your Client will have dramatically reduced the probability of having problems during the entire project. The time used for building the Scope Document is an investment for reducing future inefficiencies in reworking, time and costs.
Finally, notice that this lesson learned states “agreeing” with someone and not only “writing” it.
Good luck with your projects. See you in the next article.