Every project is temporary and unique. Set out below are some principles for establishing project objectives in a value pricing context.
There is no “vanilla” will or conveyance. There is no “vanilla” tax return, building contract or trademark. When we treat what we do as a commodity rather than as a project, we diminish our own worth.
We are pricing the client; not the work.
It is only by having the value conversation with the client that we can determine if we can create value. If we can’t create value, we don’t act.
To properly manage the project, we need to know what we are aiming for and what the project conclusion date is.
We will not do a project that does not have at least one written stated objective. Objectives may be different from what the client asks for.
It is only by having the value conversation with the client that we can determine what are the objectives of the client.
We need to ask lots of open questions (Ask “Why” five times) to establish the project objectives.
“Objectives” are not “goals”. “Goals” are that to which we aspire e.g. to have a satisfied customer at the end of the project.
Objectives must be capable of completion before the project end date. Goals may or may not be achieved before the project end date.
If we are pro-active about establishing the project end date, reference to the date is likely to appear somewhere in the scope and price proposal and the fixed price agreement.
A red hot professional might sometimes be able to articulate the project objectives and get the client’s buy-in by the end of the value conversation. More often, we will need to reflect on the objectives and articulate them to the client in the scope and price proposal.
It might be flawed to assume that the client will read and agree with the objectives appearing in the scope and price proposal. There is no harm in having a chat to the client about the proposed objectives or making reference to them in a covering email.
Sometimes, our proposed scope of work (or options for scope) won’t be capable of delivering all the objectives immediately. For example, if the client has been sued and the project objective is to settle the claim before the client has to give evidence, scope and price for phase one which is “file and serve Defence and appear at first directions hearing” will not realistically deliver the objective. The “Benefits To You” section of the scope and price proposal can spell this out and emphasise the value that is forecast to be created from the project.
Agreeing objectives is important but “objectives” are only one part of the process. In another post soon, we will address other important parts of the process.