Validate Product Quality with a Deliverable Review
Deliverable reviews, or walkthroughs, can be applied to many of the products produced by the project. For example, you can conduct a deliverable review for a project schedule, business requirements, IT program code, research papers, etc. The following process can be used to plan and conduct a formal deliverable review.
- Determine the appropriate review participants. The participants are typically peers with the person that created the deliverable, and have some expertise in the deliverable being reviewed. Managers can sit in on the review to understand the process, but they normally don’t have the detailed knowledge required to perform the actual review.
- Define completeness and correctness criteria.
The team can define completeness and correctness criteria for the deliverable being reviewed. This C&C criteria may also be defined for all projects at the organization level.
- Send out the review material prior to the meeting.
Where possible, the formal review will proceed more quickly if the team has a chance to review the deliverable ahead of time.
- Conduct the review.
The person(s) that created the deliverable walks through the work in a logical manner and answers questions as they arise. The participants should keep the following meeting principles in mind:
- Try and hold the review in one hour or less.
- If any feedback becomes complicated, it should be taken offline.
- When feedback is given, it should be clear whether it is an error that should be addressed or just a suggestion that might be followed.
- Don’t make review comments personal. Stick to the deliverable.
- Keep a list of action items during the review.
- Check for “build” processes.
The deliverable review should focus on the completeness and correctness of the deliverable. However, the reviewers should also validate that standard processes were used to create the deliverable. The review will then validate that the deliverable is acceptable and that the process used to build the deliverable was acceptable.
- Conclude the review.
Use one of the following ratings:
- Pass. The product meets all the completeness and correctness criteria set forth in the review and does not need further review.
- Pass with minor updates. In some cases, minor changes are needed, but the deliverable does not have to be reviewed again.
- More work needed. The product needs more work to meet the completion criteria required for the review. The product will typically need to be reviewed again with the same completion criteria once the necessary changes have been made.
- Communicate the results.
Make sure that all interested parties are given the results of the review.
It may seem that this is a long process but it does not have to be. It is possible the reviewers can be identified an hour in advance, a short ad-hoc meeting is held, the deliverable is reviewed using known standards and (hopefully) passes the first time. You are done.