7.4.8.2 Formalization & documentation

of the deliverable acceptance process

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In addition to acceptance criteria, the Project Manager and the Executive as representative of the Contracting Authority must agree on, formalize and document the deliverable acceptance process. The Acceptance process must be described in the contract and/or in the Project Initiation document in order to be agreed between both parties. The items that must be defined are:

The number and identity of the project team members who will review the deliverables before final approval is sought. The reviewers must be experts who know in detail the subject matter of the deliverable.
The Acceptance Management process by which deliverables produced by the project are reviewed and accepted. An example of acceptance management process suitable for services project is being presented below. More examples and analysis of IT systems acceptance process will be presented in Chapter 6 (Contract Management).
The number of working days in which deliverables must be either approved or rejected by the Contracting Authority. When defining the period for deliverable review, the Contracting Authority must consider that the process is iterative and may take more time than the initially estimated.

The amount of time for deliverable acceptance must be included in the Project Schedule.

The number of times a deliverable can be resubmitted to the Contracting Authority for approval.

When a Contracting Authority does not approve a certain deliverable but asks for modifications, corrections etc, it is very important to explain the reasons for not approving the deliverable, enabling thus the Contractor to address them when resubmitting.

It should be also noted that when the number of iterations exceeds the number defined in the Acceptance Plan (and therefore in the Contract), further work on the deliverable will require a change request.

 

Example 7-11: Acceptance Management Process for the Project “Improving the implementing capacity of the Cypriot Authorities”

Example: Project “Improving the implementing capacity of the Cypriot Authorities”.

This is a Service Project and the main Deliverables that the Contractor has to produce are:

oAction Plan for the PPD in order to be ready to undertake its new role
oPublic Procurement Best Practice Guide
oCode of Ethics in Public Procurement
oTraining strategy for people involved in public procurement
oTraining Programme and material
oTraining courses

In addition, the Contractor has the responsibility to perform the management of the project and thus submit interim progress reports as well final and evaluation report.

(Analytical project description (activities) is being presented in 7.4.1.2)

The Acceptance Management Process could be the following:

The Deliverables submitted by the Contractor are distributed to predetermined reviewers accompanied by the acceptance criteria and relative guidance on the acceptance process. Each reviewer makes his/her comments and then the comments of all reviewers form the basis of discussion in a review meeting. A list of errors, discrepancies and recommendations is formulated as a result of the review process.  This list is communicated to the Contractor in order to proceed with the necessary adjustments/ modifications and submit the revised version of the deliverable to the Contracting Authority. After assuring that the criteria for the acceptance of the deliverable are fully met, the Review Board prepares a report introducing the acceptance of the deliverable by the Project Steering Committee. The later after studying the report decides whether the deliverable will be accepted or not. In case of a confirmative decision, a formal Approval Form is completed and signed.

Further details on the acceptance management process are provided below:

a. Preparation of the review meeting

In this step the following tasks are carried out

Nomination of the Review Board

Ideally the Review Board will be nominated at the beginning of the Project, at least the Chairman and some reviewers who will participate in all the reviews should be nominated. If this has not been done, the Board must be nominated prior to the Deliverable being available for review.

Arrange Review Meeting

The Review Meeting should be held at a time and location convenient for the members of the Board and the Representatives of the Contractor. In order to allow Reviewers time to carry out their individual reviews, while maintaining project momentum, the Review Meeting must be held not less that five (5) or more than ten (10) working days after the issue of the Invitation Letter. The exact time and location is normally arranged by the secretary on behalf of the Chairman.

Issue the Review Invitation Letter

The invitation letter confirms the composition of the Review Board and the time and location that the review meeting will take place. The invitation letter is addresses to the members of the Review Board (accompanied by the necessary documentation and guiding notes for the Reviewers) and the Contractors representatives. 

b. Individual review

This step takes place between the issue of the Review Invitation Letter and the Review Meeting a period of 5-10 working days. The following points should be noted:

During this period each reviewer examines the deliverable to identify errors and issues. He may well obtain assistance of other members of his department. Errors are defined as items which require correction and which are not likely to be contested. Issues are defined as points which may require amendment of the Deliverable by the Contractor or require further clarification or discussion to confirm exactly what is wrong. Typically a Reviewer will raise an issue when he is not certain that the Deliverable requires amendment or the amendment required appears to be of some significance.
Issues and Errors Lists compiled by the reviewers have to be submitted to the Chairman of the Review Board a few days before the Review Meeting, so he can establish a preliminary view of the volume and significance of the deficiencies in the Deliverable.
The chairman will normally discuss the Errors and Issues Lists with the Contractors Representatives before the meeting to enable them to make any necessary preparations and to get a further view of significance of any potential deficiencies.
If there is sufficient time, the Chairman may ask the Secretary to compile a consolidated list of issues to assist in the smooth running of the Review Meeting.

c. Review Meeting

The Review Meeting is held at the time and location stated in the Review Invitation Letter and is attended by all members of the Review Board and the representatives of the Contractor. It is worth mentioning the following:

The aim of the Review Meeting is to identify deficiencies in the Deliverables and not to decide solutions. Solutions are decided by the team who has prepared the Deliverable.
The Chairman is responsible for controlling the meeting
It is normal practice for the Errors Lists to be accepted by the Review Board without further consideration, unless the Contractors Representatives wish to dispute any of the errors identified.
The Review Board will normally discuss each issue raised by the Reviewers in the order that they occur within the Deliverable. The discussion will clarify whether the issue is:
oA deficiency in the Deliverable
oA misunderstanding or otherwise not requiring action
It is open to the Chairman at the outset, or at any time during the meeting, to decide that the volume and/or significance of deficiencies identified in the Deliverable is such that the Deliverable cannot be accepted in its present form and must therefore be re-worked and re-submitted for review. In that case the meeting will stop and the errors and issues list will be passed to the Contractor.
In most cases the Deliverable is accepted, subject to the correction of the deficiencies noted in the Follow-up Action List.
Deficiencies identified by the Reviewers and agreed in the review meeting will be dealt in the following ways:
oMinor deficiencies will be noted for correction by the Contractor without further checking
oSignificant deficiencies will be noted by the Chairman on a Follow-up Action List. The Chairman will assign responsibility for signing-off successful rectification of the deficiency to the Reviewers and will agree with the Contractor a suitable timescale.

d. Follow-up Action

Assuming that the Deliverable will be accepted after proceeding with the necessary corrections, the following action should be taken:

Immediately after the Review Meeting the Chairman will complete the Follow-up Action List and a Result Notification and distribute them to the Contractor and the members of the Review Board.
The Contractors responsible for the production of the Deliverable and his team will work to rectify the deficiencies listed on the Follow-up Action List. Once they are rectified they arrange for the nominated reviewers to inspect the Deliverable and to sign-off the noted deficiencies. If the Reviewers are not satisfied that the deficiency has been corrected the work must be repeated until the Reviewer is satisfied. The Contractor should proceed up to maximum three iterative submissions of each deliverable.
Once all deficiencies listed in the Follow-up Action List have been signed-off, the Contractor will resubmit the Deliverable for official approval.

e. Final Approval

After assuring that the criteria for the acceptance of the deliverable are fully met, the Review Board prepares a report introducing the acceptance of the deliverable by the Project Steering Committee.
The later after studying the report decides whether the deliverable will be accepted or not. In case of a confirmative decision, a formal Approval Form is completed and signed.

 

A template of the Acceptance Plan is being presented in Annex 7-7.

 

 


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