Hand with pen makes signatureThis week I was able to obtain sign off on an architecture document from one of my clients. Why am I mentioning this? It took the client six (6) months to review and sign off on a 100 page document!

Why did it take so long? Well, your probably thinking that project management was lacking? No, we had a three week signoff clause in the contract. Maybe the document was hard to read or full of errors? No, it was reviewed by two project managers and a peer. The reason this occured is because of the clients unwllingness to assign staff to the project to review and authorize document deliverables. Also, the client typically wasnt good at accepting documents due to internal politics and ownership.

This example is indeed the worst case of signoff delay I’ve experienced. My lessons learned from this are many…but the following items stand out:

  • Ask the client how successful the past three projects were
  • Dive into acceptance of deliverables (# of people involved, turn around time)
  • Get the clients team involved very early in the writting process – get some skin in the game
  • Write your contract so that a automatic sign off occurs past a certain time period (three weeks)
  • Clearly state in the contact who the persons are responsible for sign off for each deliverable
  • Record the date and time of delivery and inform the project team
  • Upon signoff obtain a certificate from the client
  • Communicate acceptance to the team
  • Make sure there are no clauses whereby the client can re-open deliverables

Any thoughts? I’d like to here from you.