or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
Its good to get exactly what you thought you were procuring. That is very attractive as you are then more likely to be paying what was originally budgeted. That’s not an unreasonable aspiration and one naturally I often find myself working to, in procurements.
I have worked both sides of the fence and I know of many instances of ‘de-scoping’, both positive and negative. In the former, the de-scope may be down to limitations on the client side. Good examples may be unforeseen events (floods, pregnancy, organisation changes like merger etc). These all happen from time to time and often a de-scope, maybe an extension of the project, may well be needed and the sensible option. Often it’s the only option.
Negative de-scoping is when the supplier is forcing a change, for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes valid, most times for some of the following reasons.
Product or module not actually available or fit for purpose. Where software is concerned, this is quite a common one. Have you been sold something that was no where being developed or started and never been finished? If it makes you feel better, this is not an exception, its almost custom and practice! If you cannot find a reference customer running what you are having proposed, its likely you may/will be the guinea pig for this new piece of blue sky development. Or development on a mythical roadmap.
This can be a big surprise if we think we have bought a low-risk solution. Risk is all about your project having the possibility to take way longer (not 12 months, but maybe 2,3,4 years), than anticipated. Also, longer projects are way more expensive and need staff seconded from their day jobs, way longer than originally planned. So they are not often desirable.
What if certain modules or elements are not ready as yet? Well question, how much is missing? If its 10-15%, maybe (if these are not priority items), is perhaps livable. More than that, you need to be evaluating what crumbs you are receiving. Here’s an example. I worked with a client promised a housing system, EDRMS, Mobile working and Self-service portal for residents. While costs were racking up, it was evident that only an aging housing system and EDRMS might be delivered. So, perhaps 40% or less. As could be guessed, the client and their board was less than pleased.
Inevitably, lack of delivery now, can only be more expensive in the future.
There is plenty that can be done early on in a procurement to mitigate this unplanned stuff. Ask the right questions, tie deliverables into payment milestones or significant contract penalties. Certainly, where you can, unsure you are using a Framework contract, or your own for maximum protection.
If in your project, the de-scoping feels like the thin end of the wedge, it’s probably time to call a halt and reassess your options. It should never get to that point, but unfortunately sales people can be over-optimistic, or be less than 100% with the truth. These projects are often recoverable, or sometimes as a Critical Friend I have helped client organisations choose a more effective pathway to a coherent project.
Don’t suffer or de-scope in silence – you and your organisation doesn’t have to!
Related Post: What makes for a great reconciliation ?
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Reduced To Ashes – RTA.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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