The project product description is a special form of product description that defines what the project must deliver in order to gain acceptance.
It is used to:
- gain agreement from the user on the project’s scope and requirements
- define the customer’s quality expectations
- define the acceptance criteria, method and responsibilities for the project.
The product description for the project product is created in the starting up a project process as part of the initial scoping activity, and is refined during the initiating a project process when creating the project plan. It is subject to formal change control and should be checked at management stage boundaries (during managing a stage boundary) to see if any changes are required. It is used by the closing a project process as part of the verification that the project has delivered what was expected of it, and that the acceptance criteria have been met.
The following criteria apply to a project product description:
- The purpose is clear.
- The composition defines the complete scope of the project.
- The acceptance criteria form the complete list against which the project will be assessed.
- The acceptance criteria address the requirements of all the key stakeholders (e.g. operations and maintenance).
- The project product description defines how the users and the operational and maintenance organizations will assess the acceptability of the finished product(s). It should ensure that:
- all criteria are measurable
- each individual criterion is realistic
- the criteria are consistent as a set. For example, high quality, early delivery and low cost may not go together
- all criteria can be proven within the project life (e.g. the maximum throughput of a water pump) or by proxy measures that provide reasonable indicators as to whether acceptance criteria will be achieved post-project (e.g. a water pump that complies with design and manufacturing standards of reliability)
- The quality expectations have been considered, including:
- the characteristics of the key quality requirements (e.g. fast/slow, large/small, national/global)
- the elements of the customer’s quality management system that should be used
- any other standards that should be used
- the level of customer/staff satisfaction that should be achieved if surveyed.