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Getting sign-off

From: Managing Small Projects

Video: Getting sign-off

At the beginning of your project you identified what the project was supposed to deliver and how you would determine that it succeeded. Now you use those things to get the customer to approve the project. How to get the customer's acceptance can take different shapes, but it boils down to whether you successfully delivered what you're supposed to. For a small freelance project you might deliver the results, ask the customer to review them, and tell you if they're okay. All you need is a quick email reply saying that the project is approved and ideally that the check is in the mail.

Getting sign-off

At the beginning of your project you identified what the project was supposed to deliver and how you would determine that it succeeded. Now you use those things to get the customer to approve the project. How to get the customer's acceptance can take different shapes, but it boils down to whether you successfully delivered what you're supposed to. For a small freelance project you might deliver the results, ask the customer to review them, and tell you if they're okay. All you need is a quick email reply saying that the project is approved and ideally that the check is in the mail.

If your project includes requirements and specifications it's best to know that they have all been satisfied before you ask the customer for approval. For projects like these you can work with the customer and other team members to put together the test you will use to determine whether the project has been successful. If the test has a lot of steps and complexities you might also define who will run the test and under what conditions. For example, for a new software system you might set up a test environment with the same hardware and software that you use in production and run tests to see whether the software works.

For many projects the evaluation is more of a review than a test. You prepare a list of items to check based on the deliverables. For example, during the relocation project the customer approved the design for the space and the construction drawings that the contractor developed. At the end of the project the customer does a walk-through to confirm that the construction was completed according to the drawings. After the review or acceptance test is done and deemed a success, you need the customer to sign off.

It doesn't have to be a formal meeting or even a signature. An email might be enough. One of my clients would reply to my deliverable complete emails with a simple +1 as the message and copy the accounting department so the email approved both my work and the payment. In the case of the fitness studio relocation the project is approved when the fit ladies sing.

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Managing Small Projects

38 video lessons · 16608 viewers

Bonnie Biafore
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