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"if at all possible, include an "acceptance test" - which if passed will
I totally agree! We use two (count 'em!) acceptance tests in our projects.
One at the beginning of the project (the client has to accept the proposal,
then they get a full-blown project plan - they have to sign the project plan
to indicate they agree with it and will pay the tab). We also include one at
the end of a "prototype phase" - we take the prototype right through to the
end of the cycle (that is, as close to the delivered document, web site,
help file, etc. as possible), and they sign off on the prototype, indicating
that they're happy with the project so far and are willing to pay the tab.
In addition, we use a bunch of small, informal acceptance tests throughout
the project - we send a weekly or bi-weekly status report with the hours
estimated and actual, and with the next period's estimated hours. Yep - we
get the client to approve that as well.
And again...we send the client a monthly time report, and (you guessed it!)
get the client to approve that as well!
It's all under the aegis of keeping the client involved in the project,
thereby making them more *willing to pay the tab*!