Deliverables Acceptance Management – Setting Criteria for Accepting Project Deliverables

deliverables acceptance managementDeliverables acceptance management starts when the project manager develops a project plan and subordinated plans through communicating with the customer, team and other stakeholders. It is a coherent process that takes a number of stages and ends up with setting up criteria for reviewing results and accepting deliverables of a project.

Approver and Reviewer

The project manager usually takes responsibilities for managing the process. This person can play the role of approver who evaluates the deliverables at the project’s end, communicates with the customer on this point, and make the final decision on accepting and approving the deliverables. However, in larger projects the role can be taken by other people. Sometimes, a delegate of the quality control & assurance team takes the role of approver and in collaboration with the project manager this person develops the criteria for accepting project deliverables. Also a representative of the customer is involved in setting deliverables acceptance criteria and reviewing project results.

It’s worth saying that besides the role of approver there can be the role of reviewer that is independent on the approving procedure. Reviewer is a person or a group that carries out the reviewing of project outcome, analyzes compliance with requirements, and makes suggestions regarding improvements or modifications. Reviewer works closely with the project team and the project manager on the point of setting deliverables acceptance criteria. The role is highly important to software & IT projects, engineering projects, construction projects. Within effective deliverables acceptance management it is not necessary but can be used for better and more accurate decision-making.

Acceptance Criteria Definition

Deliverables acceptance criteria are defined as a formal statement of needs, rules, tests, requirements and standards that must be used in reviewing project outcome and coming to agreement with the customer on the point the project has produced the deliverables that meet the initial expectations of the customer.

Deliverables acceptance management requires the project manager to take care of the project’s feasibility and make sure it is done in line with the Business Case and customer expectations. For this purpose subsidiary plans (like change management plan, risk management plan, time management plan etc.) should be followed and the goals of the project plan should be accomplished.

The ultimate goal of deliverables acceptance management is to ensure successful delivery of expected project results in a specified time period, within budget and within scope. For achieving this goal, there some key tasks that the project manager must accomplish. These tasks are:

  • Set up the criteria for accepting project deliverables, coming to agreement with the customer.
  • Determine and assign a person who will review the deliverables and assure their adherence to the criteria listed in the project acceptance plan (as it’s been said, normally the project manager accomplishes this task but there can be exceptions).
  • Set up any time considerations that may be required for managing the acceptance of project deliverables and adherence to customer expectations.
  • Make a deliverables acceptance document report that represents all the deliverables actually accepted and approved.


Deliverables acceptance management is a complicated and highly important process that determines success of a project in terms of deliverables produced. Every project manager must take care of doing a series of tasks for reviewing and accepting project deliverables. The major goal of managing deliverables is to ensure compliance with the requirements and expectations set by the customer and documented by deliverables acceptance criteria. The process of managing project deliverables involves the role of reviewer and the role of approver. Both roles are important for successful deliverables acceptance planning and management.

Daniel Linman

A business consultant working on analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation of projects. Daniel has a broad experience in developing strategies for managing business and project activities. He monitors the market trends, actively participates in various business workshops and contributes to the development of effective communications between teammates and team leaders in the companies he is working for.

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