In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of law suits…
For some, the fact that these matters are now heading to the courts is surprising, and for others not surprising at all. They have seen this as something inevitable, given the trends of the past decade or so… There has always been court cases, but the number is increasing at an alarming rate.
The legal cases have several things in common – the biggest being the lack of management of expectations. You never arrive in court when expectations have been clear, concise, thoroughly understood and agreed upon by all 3 facets involved – the customer, the service provider (the vendor), and the implementation team.
The customer needs to know their needs – too many enter into a project without taking an account of the cost of such an endeavor and taking an account on three levels: financially, available resources, and investment of time by all involved. Too many times, the C-level employees of the company will place more importance of getting things done, instead of getting things done well. Projects are like farming – if you don’t have the soil prepared properly, then how are you going to get more from the little you invest? Preparation takes time and resources with little to show for it all – it is something called delayed gratification. Updating or creating well documented business processes, performing a thorough needs assessment by drilling down to the lowest level of management, and using RFI’s that will seek information based on these findings are the tools to be used for preparation.
Vendors – or service providers – are usually chosen by the customer through the RFP process. If a vendor does not have a good match to the customer’s business processes, then the customer did not prepare very well. If the business processes RFI’s were handled properly, then the RPP will have all their needs thoroughly described. A vendor must also be attentive and honest enough to let their customer know what limitations they have with the customer’s needs. A customer that receives a “yes” to everything it asks for should move away from the vendor and find one that will work with you and not yes you to death.
Implementation teams have the burden of taking what the customer has decided and set the right expectations, meet project milestones and avoid waste. Often, this is thought of the crux of the project when it is actually the action of the project. Returning to the farming theme – the implementation team is the farmer taking over where the seeds have already been planted and trying to make the best of what has already been handed to him or her. No one can produce a full and healthy harvest from bad or ill-prepared soil, nor from seeds that are unhealthy. Yet, many times, especially the C-level employees and directors of departments expect such an outcome.
Everyone has to return to the basics. There is too much emphasis on trying to gain as much as possible with as little investment as possible. Don’t get me wrong – it is wise to seek this. What is not wise is to seek this at the cost – and risk — of ending up in court.
And unfortunately, from all appearances, many are already heading that way…
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