All projects need at some stage or other, formal sign off. Maybe it’s the business case, or an end of stage review or a change control document. What is interesting talking with senior managers and some project managers is that I am not convinced that the person signing off the document realises what they are signing off.
- When the project sponsor approached the project manager she queried why he was spending so much time on the project (she was also the project manager’s boss). He pointed to the PID (charter) showing he would need to work on the project 4 days a week. This had been signed off by the sponsor
- A change to a project agreed by the project sponsor resulted in extra costs. The sponsor then asked a lot of questions, via email as to why the project spend was higher. The project manager realised what was afoot and rather than spend a lot of time doing some analysis and wasting time called the sponsor to explain the extra costs were based on a change approved by the sponsor.
- The project end of stage review was agreed, and the sponsor expressed his satisfaction about progress to date. A mere 3 days later he queried something that was delivered during the signed off stage. He said he was not happy, however he has signed off that stage
These are real live examples told to me. Yes, there is probably more to them than what is written here, but it does seem to indicate that when a document is signed off, the implications are not always clear. People can change their mind however, are they clear on the implications of doing this in the project management environment?
This seems a clear case (opportunity) for the project manager to explain to the sponsor or whoever, the implications of signing off the document. My cynicism also suggests that this means putting in time and effort to communicate!
Have you experienced problems with this? It would be interesting to find out.