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Design sign off and approval


Design approval and sign off can be useful milestones for your business. They can help keep your project on track and moving forward, making sure that you are happy with the development and the delivery of your design. However, they can also be one of the most challenging elements of the design process.

What is design sign off?

Sign off typically implies that the design is final and no further revisions are possible.

The development process may contain several sign off points where you will be expected to approve changes, before the designer can continue the process. For example, you may be asked to sign off on a web design before the designer begins the build.

You will want to agree these sign off points in advance, to allow you to discuss and collaborate on the design. Having a chance to agree on certain design assumptions or details can result in faster development and ensure that your project stays in scope and on budget.

If you follow this collaborative approach, by the time you see the final design, you are less likely to have issues with signing off since you have contributed to creating the solution.

Managing design approval and sign off

Before the project begins, you need to establish who has the authority to approve and sign off on the various stages. This might be a team member, the project manager, a senior manager or the business owner.

You will also want to agree on the level of iterations and revisions you can expect, and whether certain types of changes are in scope or not.

Finally, you will need to decide when and how the project will end. For example, if issues come up after you manufacture a new product or launch a new website, have you allowed for further revisions to the design? Or are you going to declare that project complete and start a new design phase later?

After the project ends, you should set up a final review to assess how the project was handled and if there are any lessons you can learn from the experience. The review will also allow you to evaluate your design investment properly.

See more on managing your design projects.