Much has been read and heard about projects losing their shirts due to the Customer. Really? Why does it this keep rearing its head over and over? That cliche, Change in a way of life and it is one of those things that is inevitable. Attempting to find a sorry excuse for your losses under the guise of change may be a subterfuge and in some cases a rookie mistake.
Understanding a few key aspects of what the deal is goes a long way in being cognizant of the details. Ask a few questions-
1- What is the technical scope?
2- What are the commercial Terms and Conditions?
3- Is the scope firm and prescriptive?
4- What exactly is the Division of Responsibility? Who does what?
5- Is there a firm price associated with the above scope?
6- Is there a specific time frame to execute the above scope?
7- Are you going to be penalized if you finish late or is there a bonus clause if you finish early?
Hardly a revelation, but if the Scope, Price and schedule are clearly specified by means of understanding the Contract are truly understood, you are in with a fighting chance. Thus, the understanding of the Baseline is what was just described above.
Now that the Baseline is established, any deviation to the Baseline will constitute a Change. How the Baseline scope is executed strictly depends on you, as long is delivers the product within the framework of quality and safety. Now its time to execute.
Always always refer back to the Baseline and whenever you become aware of a Change either due to errors/ omissions or Customer directions, stop and evaluate. This is the point where you make a massive difference to your bottomline. A legitimate deviation from the Baseline must be addressed as you go. Do not wait until the end of project to do a “global settlement”.
This is a trap- Customer unwillingness to keep moving and not recognizing change is a sure sign that you may not get a fair return on efforts. And the global settlement more often than not may end up in disgruntlement all around and repeat business could be impacted. The optimal way manner is to understand the baseline, recognize deviations, address changes and agree on a fair settlement and move on.