Obtaining Project Sign-off - Project Management

Now it's time to formalize project closure and obtain sign-off on the final product or service of the project. This process assures that the customer and stakeholders have formally accepted the product by verifying that the outcomes meet all the requirements outlined in the scope statement.

One way to obtain sign-off is to produce and distribute a final status report for the project that includes a section for acceptance signatures.The final status report looks different than the periodic status reports you've been producing all along.The final report should recap the goals of the project and detail the major milestones and deliverables accepted and completed.

A final status report template is shown in Figure below.Use this template for your projects and modify it to meet the needs of your projects.

The idea here is to provide a high-level overview of the project, its successes and problems, and to note the dates when stakeholders accepted the key deliverables for the project. This report is for public consumption, so keep it honest, but not brutally honest. If major problems occurred on the project because of certain stakeholders or team members who were particularly difficult to deal with,consider creating a confidential report or briefing to give to the project sponsor or appropriate executive managers. If other political hot potatoes arise during the project that you don't feel should be noted publicly in this status report, put them in the confidential report.

Once the stakeholders sign the acceptance document, the process concludes with a formal notice of the acceptance to the stakeholders, customers, and project sponsor. The project manager is responsible for distributing this last piece of communication. This notice should be written, dated, and sent according to the communications plan. If the project is internal to the organization, an e-mail notification might work. If the project was completed on contract, I recommend sending formal notice through the post office the old-fashioned way.This is the last time you'll hear me say this: File the acceptance document in the project notebook.

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