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Have you ever been confronted with a delivery scenario where you recognize that with just a little more effort, staff or resource of some sort, a potentially larger issue could be quickly and efficiently resolved?

It's much more valuable to all concerned to help avoid, or remediate, a problem early and efficiently, rather than try to compensate for the failure after the Project Delivery fails.


Customers may be tempted to focus on ensuring that the Consultant's failures are proven and acknowledged. In the same way Consultants are tempted to demonstrate how missing or inaccurate Customer provided data, along with lax Customer participation (project status reviews, not testing interim deliverables), combined with a series of changes from the initial SOW helped cause the Project delivery problem. In almost every failed Project there are generally plenty of things each party could have done much better, and much sooner, that could have helped prevent or minimize that failure. Neither party wins when they engage in a finger-pointing process; that process alienates the other party and defers any meaningful effort to actually resolve the problem.  If you agree with this requirement for a "win-win" Project philosophy, Contract Remedies can represent an excellent vehicle to accelerate the cure process and by-pass fault assignment and litigation sink holes.

When you choose to construct contract remedies, it requires more work early in the project by both parties in order to: 1) contemplate meaningful contract remedies as you construct the SOW; and 2) more work in careful monitoring of the Project delivery process so you can initiate the cure before the delivery gets too far off track (parties must rely upon following the Project Methodology). It's much easier to get the other party to agree upon appropriate cure measures when they are in a logical planning mode; i.e. before a problem occurs. If you do not bother to make this effort up-front and only introduce the subject after the Project starts to falter, the parties get defensive and try to assign blame rather than provide cooperation in an effort to cure the problem. For example, rather than argue why a Project is 2 weeks behind schedule, it might be more useful to have an additional Consultant and/or Customer resource assigned to help catch up...that is a contract remedy.

When you construct your project SOW ask yourself 2 simple questions: 1.) if something goes wrong with this Project, what most likely would that be; and 2.) how could I correct that issue (presuming the contract is carefully monitored and that issue was spotted early on). Then use that information to construct a meaningful contract remedy.

Most SOWs are built with an expectation things will work as planned, however once that job is completed, review that SOW to spot those areas than it  might be most likely to jump off-track during the delivery process (perhaps it includes coordinating input from multiple parties, etc.); and then target those areas for a Contract Remedy insertion in your final SOW. Documenting the ideal Project delivery expectations is only part of a good SOW: when you use that information to help spot potential trouble spots and then build contingencies in your delivery plan, that extra effort helps both parties. When a contract proactively defines the likely exposure areas, it reflects a thorough understanding of the Project requirements, which sends a positive message about the skill and professionalism of the Consultant, and also instills a level of Customer confidence that helps promote Customer loyalty.