Scope – what won’t you do?

In an average contract, you’ll see suppliers describe in detail exactly what they will do as part of the scope of works. But in a great contract, you’ll see suppliers describe what they won’t do. In this post, I focus on the importance of adding clarity to your contract to avoid costly disputes in the future…

Successful contracts rely on effective working relationships between two companies. But misunderstandings, confusion and a lack of transparency can hamper a contract’s success and, ultimately, lead to disagreements.

Imagine that your new client assumes that your scope includes a service that’s especially important to them. They never tell you this because your contract is a bit woolly about the scope… A few months later, your client finds out that it’s not included. How are they going to feel? A sense of betrayal that it wasn’t clear from the outset? Disappointment? Irritation?

All thes are natural responses, but these feelings don’t provide a good foundation for a long and successful partnership.

So how can you remove the wiggle room in which incorrect assumptions can occur? Your contract can create uncertainty if it fails to state what you are not going to do (in turn allowing incorrect assumptions to go unchallenged).

To strengthen your relationship with your client, as well as providing a tailored approach to each project and each client, you can clarify any grey areas, including what you won’t do — whether you lay them out as optional additional requirements, confirm they are not within your expertise or highlight that someone else should be or is providing them.

Your scope can:

  • detail any common extras that your client could consider;
  • alternative solutions to your client’s requirements;
  • ways that you can tailor the goods, works or services to your client’s actual needs; and
  • offer more surprising options relating to their hidden needs.

What should you do?

Put your feet in your clients’ shoes (or – for 2020 – their slippers) and answer questions your client doesn’t even know they have, before they arise.

Also ensure the limits of the scope in your contract are clear.

Together this will have a positive impact on the level of understanding between two parties, which leads me nicely onto trust.

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