Get More TLC: #17: Fail

Have you ever been swept up in dealing with something and forgotten to provide the information someone else really needed? Like the time my sister and I failed spectacularly to meet on a train station, because I did not explain my revised plan properly to her…  she ended up in Wigan not Manchester Oxford Road!

A series of train platforms at a brick-built station under a domed roof, with escalators allowing access and passengers milling around.

Tackle Linked Consequences

A few decades ago, we were ‘played’ as tourists at an Edinburgh restaurant during the Festival. Steve, our host, ordered a specific bottle of wine. When the waiter returned, he said that wine was not available but suggested a ‘similar’ one. As a canny diner, Steve asked the price, which was triple the original! We avoided a nasty shock when the bill came and the inevitable argument.

Once you’ve got a right to agree changes to the contract, you need two further items.

First, you need to record that change to solve the problem of inaccurate memories, as briefly mentioned last month. For example, the Federation of Master Builders have a change of work form to ensure that any changes, and their impact on cost (and soon to reflect any changes to the completion date for the project) are noted and agreed.  It helps to reinforce instructions given verbally, by text or email to confirm who said what.

Second, you need to ensure you tackle the linked consequences ie. changes to other aspects of the contract. It is vanishingly unlikely that if you change the scope of the goods, works or services to be provided, that there will not be some knock-on effects on: time, cost, quality, and other aims or objectives of the project. The benefits of agreeing these details, apart from keeping trust and managing expectations, before you do the work include:

  • Single agreed record of change and its consequences to help avoid disputes
  • The programme, works/quality documents, budget and other KPIs can immediately be revised so the client and its provider know what they are now aiming for
  • The provider can start to invoice against the changed price without the client getting a massive and unwelcome surprise
  • It allows you both to focus on getting the job done and not the paperwork you have left undone.