Scope validation is the process of formalizing the acceptance of project deliverables. It refers to the acceptance of deliverables after they have been delivered, not the common misunderstanding of acceptance of what the deliverables will be (which falls under Define Scope within the Planning process group). Validate Scope, on the other hand, belongs to the Monitoring and Controlling process group.
It’s all too easy to spend countless hours, weeks, or months working on a project only to have a stakeholder at the project sponsor level decide that something should have been done differently or that more work should be done. That can happen even weeks or months later. This is a surprisingly common scenario, and the Validate Scope process is included in the project management body of knowledge to avoid it.
How Should Scope Validation Look?
It makes no difference what format the scope validation is in, how long it is, or how it appears. The important criteria are whether the project deliverables are accepted, who accepted them, and under what conditions, so that the project can proceed or close without fear of cost and schedule overruns when stakeholders check their inboxes.
An email stating that the deliverable has been accepted is usually sufficient, as long as it comes from the correct person within the organization and cannot be overruled.
Who Accept the Scope?
During the planning phase’s stakeholder analysis, each stakeholder should have been identified as requiring approval or disapproval of the deliverables. Their concerns should have been addressed as well. As a result, after submitting the project deliverables, the project manager must revisit this list to ensure that all approvals have been obtained and project criteria have been met.
A reasonable review period is usually required, and follow-up is frequently required to ensure that the project can proceed without undue risk from previous phases.
A special stakeholder is the project sponsor. The project sponsor must approve and “sign off” on all project deliverables. Allowing project sponsors to avoid decisions for extended periods of time poses a significant risk to the project, especially since humans have a tendency to postpone approval (and communication) on things with which they are not completely satisfied.
What if they are not Accepted?
Frequently, stakeholders will request changes, or worse, they will refuse to accept the deliverable and send the project back to the drawing board.
This is a terrible situation. To avoid this, the project manager should be aware of the stakeholders’ expectations and manage them throughout the project. Communication is critical. At the start of the project, each stakeholder should communicate their requirements, and they should receive regular updates throughout the project. This falls under the knowledge areas of Project Stakeholder Management and Project Communications Management, but clearly if these two knowledge areas are not adequately addressed, the Validate Scope process suffers.
If the project’s schedule, budget, or other plans are jeopardized, changes must be made. This is a knowledge area within Project Integration Management.
Verify Vs. Validate
According to the PMBOK, the Control Quality process produces “verified deliverables,” which are then fed into the Validate Scope process. Thus, verified deliverables are those that meet the requirements, whereas validated deliverables are those that have been accepted by the customer.
In layman’s terms, this means that before submitting any deliverable, you conduct internal quality checks to ensure that the product meets the requirements. This is referred to as quality control. Validate Scope, on the other hand, refers to the customer’s acceptance of the deliverable.
The scope validation process is critical because it focuses on verifying the deliverables that will be handed over to stakeholders. The primary function is to produce deliverables that meet the standards and criteria outlined in the Project Management plan by the stakeholders. The deliverables will not be accepted unless the validate scope process is implemented, and they will have to go through the change request process. Allow yourself the opportunity to improve your Project Management skills through PMP certification training and excel in your career.