Frankly it has always surprised me that so many contracts lack a statement of the obvious ie what is the specific purpose or aim of the goods, works or services to be provided. Meeting expectations — and even exceeding them — can only come about by truly understanding what’s important to your client…
Each client requires you to meet their specific aims; yet there is a danger in assuming what those aims are. We have all heard trite statements about how you have to choose between time, cost and quality – but do you know which is relevant to this project?
The best way to make sure you’re going to deliver what your client expects is to ask, ask, ask. Even if the questions seem obvious, it’s better to clarify than to leave room for speculation, assumptions or inconsistencies because (as I discussed when it comes to scope) this is where disputes and complaints can arise.
Once you know what your client’s aims are, the next step is to ask which is most important to them. Does completion on time overrule your client’s budget or desired standards for quality? Is the project duration or completion date realistic for everyone involved, and to achieve the necessary standards for the budget? Finally, ask yourself — will the finished project do what your contract promises?
At the end of the project, when you’ve met those defined and agreed aims, you’ll have a happy client.
If you’ve not asked the right questions beforehand and your client expected different outcomes, you’ll have opened yourself up to disputes and disagreements, as well as a disgruntled client.
And no one wants that!
What should you do?
Ask plenty of questions, even those that seem questions – it will show your determination to create success.