Verify Scope

With excerpts from my Project Management Novel, I will illustrate the many processes of the PMBOK.  Here is the twenty-fifth one: Verify Scope. Use this map to see how this process fits into the scheme of processes.  24 Verify Scope


The sponsor for this project was a priest called Robert. He was dark and hairy of body except for his tonsured head. He wore a shy smile and had a self-deprecating manner that Gwilym found disarming. He was very interested in the progress of the project and constantly asked for updates. Gwilym would show him the progress at the end of each day and show him how they would check off deliverables in the project plan.

One day, when Gwilym had indicated that the first floor was complete and proudly checked off that deliverable on the project plan, Robert had stopped him. “Shouldn’t I be the one who does that?” he asked of Gwilym.

Gwilym cocked his head and asked the priest to explain.

“Well,” said Robert, raising his shoulders in an exaggerated shrug and grimace. “Since I’m the sponsor, shouldn’t I be the one who decides that the deliverable is complete?”

Gwilym showed the Quality Assurance measures that went with this deliverable: the length, width and height, the straightness, the smoothness of the walls. All the quality requirements had been met.

Robert looked up at Gwilym and shrugged again. “I know, I know, but I still think it should be me, not you, who decides if it is complete.”

Gwilym shrugged too, raised his hands as if accepting a load from the priest and asked him, “Do you accept this deliverable?”

Robert looked around again at the finished storey and asked to see the plan. Gwilym showed him the quality measures again, went over the measurements and showed him where on the tower each measurement was taken. The priest even took some of his own measurements to satisfy himself. Then he took the quill and ran a stroke through Gwilym’s check mark to turn it into an X.

“I verify that this deliverable is complete,” he said to Gwilym with a smile. “May I do so with all the past deliverables?”

Gwilym took him through each of the earlier ones and showed him, as best he could, how they had met the requirements. Some of the quality measures of the foundations were impossible to see not that they were covered up. Robert dutifully crossed through each of Gwilym’s check marks and grew happier each time.

When they had completed this activity Gwilym asked him, “Shall we have you verify scope each time before I sign them off in future?”

Robert breathed a huge sigh of relief and, shrugging again, said, “Well, that’s probably a good idea.”

Gwilym talked this over on Sunday with Fred. Fred liked the idea and Gwilym summed up the discussion: “There’s a difference between meeting all the quality requirements of the deliverable and getting acceptance by the customer. Even if he doesn’t want us to change anything, he wants to be the one to accept the deliverable, not have us tell him it has been accepted. It’s a good lesson.”

Fred agreed. “Let’s do this on all th’future projects.”