Monday, April 9, 2012

Small Change - Keeping Track of it All

During the course of any project, clients request a lot of changes. Most of these are too small to justify a request for a fee increase. Cumulatively, however, they can amount to a lot of effort and can kill your budget. But there’s a way to keep track of and limit small changes without making your clients feel like they’re being “nickel and dimed.”

  1. Start a “Small Change Log” and record every change, no matter its size or effect, along with the amount of time and/or money it took to make the adjustments.
  2. Once a substantial number of these items have been accumulated, as part of a project status update, show the log to the client. Make sure to tell your client that even though these changes seem very small individually, cumulatively amount to quite a bit of costs for your firm.
  3. Stress to your client that even though you r firm believes in going beyond what is contractually required in order to provide your clients with outstanding service, your contingency for these small changes is now depleted.
  4. Make sure your client knows that in the future you will need to create a change order for future small changes.

All of this should be done in the spirit of cooperation. Even if the client tells you that she has no funds for future changes, at least you have put her on record that you are watching these very closely. You can then offer offsets in other tasks to pay for these.

The last thing you want to do is surprise your client or your firm with cost overruns due to the accumulation of these small changes. Be prepared to deal with this issue up front and your clients will thank you for it!

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