When you’re running a managed services provider (MSP) business, the name of the game is rolling out successful projects and services for customers. With that in mind, a critical element of the project workflow for an MSP to consider is project sign-offs.
Project sign-offs are a process by which, once a project is concluded, a customer “signs off” on the project to confirm that it has been completed successfully. How exactly an MSP goes about doing this can vary from business to business or even project to project. Still, at its core, the process essentially certifies that the customer believes the project has been completed to their satisfaction and that all parties agree the project is done.
Why would an MSP need to do this? First, with any project, there might be different definitions of what “done” looks like. While hopefully the MSP clearly outlined the scope and elements of the project prior to its start, there may still be some ambiguity as to when the project can be considered complete (especially with more complex projects). Having a project sign-off ensures that everyone agrees the project is done.
Additionally, having a project sign-off process can ensure that a customer not only agrees that the project was done, but that it was completed successfully and to their satisfaction. Put another way, it allows the customer to have a platform to raise any potential issues with the project or provide any feedback on what further work needs to be done. Having these conversations at the end of every project ensures customer satisfaction and can preempt any issues that may arise before a contract renewal.
Of course, a counterargument to needing a project sign-off is having clearly outlined project parameters from the beginning in a statement of work, with clearly defined deliverables that can easily be marked as complete. Additionally, this document can outline items that are considered out of scope, so the customer knows in advance. However, the existence of such a document doesn’t preclude having a project sign-off for additional certainty if an MSP thinks that this is warranted.
For MSPs that do see the value in having project sign-off as part of their workflow with customers, there are several different formats to consider. Of course, the exact format of the sign-off document will vary from MSP to MSP and project to project. One common format is to leverage the original project scope document to outline the work completed, as well as the key individuals involved, with a deliverable approval signature at the bottom to certify the completion of all the elements and the satisfaction of the customer. This can be as simple as a basic checklist, or a more extensive statement of work for the entire project, depending on the MSP’s preference and the nature of the project. With all the varying options, the consistent element is a customer signature at the bottom to certify the project completion.
In addition to the project sign-off sheet, an MSP may also want to consider other project completion actions. For instance, do they also want to submit a review form to customers, designed to get feedback on the staff involved or the customer’s level of satisfaction with the process? The MSP may also consider setting up a post mortem meeting for larger projects to ensure satisfaction, with an eye to future projects. However, it is also a balancing act between all these items to ensure that the MSP isn’t overwhelming the client with requests to provide feedback and perform specific actions after a project.
While a project sign-off is certainly not a requirement, it is one element for an MSP to consider, ensuring complete satisfaction and partnership — hopefully for many years to come.