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How to handle delay in document approval?



It's a real challenge to get deliverables shared with reviewers, reworked, approved by clients and get it base-lined. The functional managers have their own priorities, so they will wait for the last minute for sending the document. I think the best way is to prepare a RACI matrix, so they are aware up front of their responsibilities. My goal is not to delay the project to work on the review comments. What is your opinion?
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Hi Anish -

A RACI can help but so will involving the approvers in the development of the project timelines taking into account their realistic availability. Sometimes scheduling a "signing party" meeting where a final walkthrough is held and approvals are secured before folks leave the room will work too. Other times, the hesitation might be that folks don't understand what their signature implies - I find having explicit signature blocks that spell this out (e.g. By signing this, I attest...) might defuse some of their worries about approving too much.

Kiron
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 31, 2018 10:08 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Kiron, for your feedback on this.
I like the idea of "singing party" meeting for obtaining approvals. I have also noticed some PM's sending invitations for blocking approvers calendar.



Anish,

Kiron solution of a RACI can just help.

Get people to sign-on when receiving documents will qet the timer started!
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 31, 2018 10:11 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Vincent for your input on this.



Depending of the document we are talking about sometimes we need VP approval in our case. In our case, time needed to approval is considering into out project schedule. Beyond that we have put a rule that said that in some cases if we do not receive answer in the next 24-72 hours considering business days then the document is considered approved. Obviously we get the agreement about that.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 31, 2018 10:17 PM
Anish Abraham
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I agree Sergio, some documents may require approval from higher ups. I think agreeing on a time frame for document approvals is another way to move forward. I appreciate your feedback on this.



Jan 31, 2018 6:21 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Hi Anish -

A RACI can help but so will involving the approvers in the development of the project timelines taking into account their realistic availability. Sometimes scheduling a "signing party" meeting where a final walkthrough is held and approvals are secured before folks leave the room will work too. Other times, the hesitation might be that folks don't understand what their signature implies - I find having explicit signature blocks that spell this out (e.g. By signing this, I attest...) might defuse some of their worries about approving too much.

Kiron
Thanks Kiron, for your feedback on this.
I like the idea of "singing party" meeting for obtaining approvals. I have also noticed some PM's sending invitations for blocking approvers calendar.



Jan 31, 2018 7:30 PM
Replying to Vincent Guerard
...
Anish,

Kiron solution of a RACI can just help.

Get people to sign-on when receiving documents will qet the timer started!
Thanks Vincent for your input on this.



Jan 31, 2018 7:40 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Depending of the document we are talking about sometimes we need VP approval in our case. In our case, time needed to approval is considering into out project schedule. Beyond that we have put a rule that said that in some cases if we do not receive answer in the next 24-72 hours considering business days then the document is considered approved. Obviously we get the agreement about that.
I agree Sergio, some documents may require approval from higher ups. I think agreeing on a time frame for document approvals is another way to move forward. I appreciate your feedback on this.



Hi Anish,

While a RACI matrix is an absolute necessity, stakeholders also need to be warned beforehand (constantly) about upcoming milestones. The communications strategy for the project could involve individual messages to such stakeholders informing them of any required signatures for the upcoming fortnight (for example).

Your point about functional managers having non-project priorities should also be tabled as a risk and reviewed constantly. It should also be highlighted every time the realisation of this risk is imminent or when it crosses over and becomes an issue. It should be understood by all parties that - while non-project responsibilities are not trivial - loss of focus on project activities would impact the project schedule.

Lastly, some cushion could be built into the plan to accommodate the risk of such delay. But this is a grey area since this falls prey to Parkinson's Law - and no amount of cushion is enough in such scenarios.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Feb 01, 2018 10:57 AM
Anish Abraham
...
Thanks for your insight on this, Karan.
You are right, the focus should be on the project and all non-project priorities should be added as a risk.



For critical milestones like signatures, you should add the conditions for that in the Assumption Log, such as "sign on the agreed date".
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Feb 01, 2018 11:03 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks for your feedback, Sante.
Adding document approvals to Assumption Log may be useful, since it helps to foresee potential risks and issues.



Jan 31, 2018 10:49 PM
Replying to Karan Shah
...
Hi Anish,

While a RACI matrix is an absolute necessity, stakeholders also need to be warned beforehand (constantly) about upcoming milestones. The communications strategy for the project could involve individual messages to such stakeholders informing them of any required signatures for the upcoming fortnight (for example).

Your point about functional managers having non-project priorities should also be tabled as a risk and reviewed constantly. It should also be highlighted every time the realisation of this risk is imminent or when it crosses over and becomes an issue. It should be understood by all parties that - while non-project responsibilities are not trivial - loss of focus on project activities would impact the project schedule.

Lastly, some cushion could be built into the plan to accommodate the risk of such delay. But this is a grey area since this falls prey to Parkinson's Law - and no amount of cushion is enough in such scenarios.
Thanks for your insight on this, Karan.
You are right, the focus should be on the project and all non-project priorities should be added as a risk.



Feb 01, 2018 1:45 AM
Replying to Sante Vergini
...
For critical milestones like signatures, you should add the conditions for that in the Assumption Log, such as "sign on the agreed date".
Thanks for your feedback, Sante.
Adding document approvals to Assumption Log may be useful, since it helps to foresee potential risks and issues.
...
1 reply by Sante Vergini
Feb 01, 2018 5:27 PM
Sante Vergini
...
Yes, and it also makes it more likely that the person will sign and not delay because they know it was an assumption that they sign on time. Presumably all stakeholders have agreed to the project documentation, including the assumption log. Now some may not agree to an assumption to sign on time, especially the person signing, but that doesn't matter. If you make it part of that log, and it is required, then even if they don't sign on time, you should not accountable for that delay.
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