End of Approval Phase Checklist


Quick Summary
A checklist of activities and deliverables that should be completed by the end of the Approval Phase.


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What this is

A checklist of activities and deliverables that should be completed by the end of the Approval Phase. This checklist can be used during an end-of-phase management review. This is one of a series of end-of-phase checklists, one for each of our representative project phases.


Why it's useful

The theme of an end-of-phase management review is to ensure that sufficient work has been completed in the current project phase to allow the project to enter the next phase without an unacceptable increase in project risk. Thus the checklist is not only for what work was done in last phase but also for what foundation has been set for the work that is coming next. Projects that don't lay a good foundation in risk reduction activities such as planning, requirements management, design and testing can become overextended in later project phases, increasing the schedule time, cost, and risk of the project, and decreasing the fitness for use of the project's result. A checklist that tracks the status of key activities and deliverables in each project phase can help the team and stakeholders decide if a sufficient foundation has been laid in the current project phase to allow the project to continue into the next phase.

The Approval phase is focused on examining/testing/reviewing the nearly-completed project deliverables from the customer's viewpoint and against the original requirements and the company's business case for undertaking the project in the first place. The work includes both internal and external reviews, testing, customer acceptance processes; e.g. for a product development project, does the product work and are costs in line with what the business case required? If developing a service, do the final service definition, steps, and supporting material work for the customer and those who will be delivering the service? For software development, does the software meet its performance and usability requirements? When the project is to plan and prepare for an event, are all elements such as facilities, invitations, and related services in place? The Approval phase should not be the first time the team has done testing or sought out customer feedback. But by the Approval phase, all the important elements should be nearing completion, allowing final affirmation that the project is truly nearing completion. After the Approval Phase comes the Delivery phase, so the exit for the Approval phase must ensure that the company is truly ready for nearing start of delivery to customers.


How to use it

  1. If you are at the beginning of your project, download this checklist and the other end-of-phase checklists and use them to make the general plan for the entire project. If you are in mid-project, examine the checklists of previous phases to ensure that your project is not already overextended. Try to avoid examining these end-of-phase checklists only late in the project phase or on the eve of the end-of-phase project review -- they lose much of their value as a planning tool if not used early.

  2. Don't be put off by the number of items on these checklists. They are illustrative of the areas of focus, with example checklist items underneath, for accomplishing the key goals of the phase. Edit these checklists to remove items that don't apply to your particular project, and to include additional items that are key gating items in your organization's development or project process. You can also adapt these checklists to your organization's project lifecycle phases -- more on that below. Try to do this editing EARLY in your planning, when you're not under pressure to complete a particular phase. Then hold the checklist steady both during and at the end of the phase -- resist making changes and removing items in order to have a better review.

  3. Start actively using each checklist EARLY in the project phase to ensure completeness of the activities and deliverables that you are trying to accomplish during the phase.

  4. As part of the end-of-phase review, the checklist should be prepared with either a "YES" or "NO" in the "Done?" column. Items with a "NO" are "punch list" items to be tracked until completion.


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