6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 5.5 Validate Scope: Tools and Techniques


How is the process of validating the scope done?   That is the subject of this post.

5.5.2  Validate Scope–Tools and Techniques

5.5.2.1 Inspection

The main tool/technique is that of inspection, which in this case means measuring, examining, and comparing the characteristics of the deliverables to see that they fulfill the requirements and product acceptance criteria developed at the beginning of the project.   I think you can see why it is important that these product acceptance criteria have to be measurable and objective, rather than subjective, because then there is less room for potential disagreement on whether a deliverable does or does not meet those criteria.   For example, “I want the final product to look nice” would not be an objective criteria, because what “looks nice” to one person may not look nice to another person.

As the PMBOK® Guide mentions, in some application areas the inspection may be referred to as a “product review” or “walkthrough.”   The name doesn’t matter as much as the process.

5.5.2.2  Decision Making

As important as the process of inspection is, and in particular the necessity of deciding on the acceptance criteria, it is also important to agree ahead of time on how the decision will be made as to whether the product meets those acceptance criteria.   Who exactly will make the decision?   Will it be solely the customer or sponsor?   Or will the decision be done by a group of people, including some of the project team and;or other stakeholders.   And if so, what will be the method of voting?   Will it have to be a unanimous vote, by majority vote, or vote by a plurality vote?   This also needs to be spelled out ahead of time so if there is any disagreement, there is a clear path towards resolving it.

At the end of the day, there will be one of two possible decisions:   either

a) the final product meets the acceptance criteria, in which case the customer or sponsor sends formal acceptance in the form of a written letter to the project manager.   The project has now officially gone from the monitoring and controlling phase to the closing phase.

or

b) the final product does not meet all of the acceptance criteria, in which case a change request must be made which states the reason for the non-acceptance of certain deliverables.   The project then goes to the Perform Integrated Control process (4.6) and once the changes are made, another attempt is made to do the Validate Scope process (and hopefully get it right this time).

For the outputs to this process, let’s go to the next post.

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