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how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client
4

how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

(OP)
I have a question pertaining more the software industry (I believe)

Throughout our projects we always incur delays as clients cannot define requirements quickly and in final forms in a very efficient way. Redoing wok is quite expensive for us- and it is perceived as a way of life. It is something I cannot quite accept. In your experience is there any way to charge for that churn OR a way to stop it?

Thanks

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

Well written bid/contract should do it.  Stating that changes to scope etc will require re-quote.

Bad thing is if it's common practice in your industry just to accept it then putting this kind of wording in a bid may make it harder to win.  

Good news is it means your initial dollar figure can be lower as you put less contingency in.

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

At the time of occurrence, I use an ESWO (Extra Service Work Order) outlining the added fees and delays involved and although I don't enforce it, require that it be signed prior to commencing the new work.

Dik

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

The reason clients do it is because there's no penalty for doing it wrong or slow.

TTFN



RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

Sometimes, though, it's inevitable.  When our operators demand changes to the visual or functional aspects of a piece of software, we do it no matter what it ends up costing.

I try and reduce it by offering demo versions to try out, but they are mostly ignored until the software has been purchased and installed.  Then I get the cries of 'what the hell is this?' and 'this is crap! why did you pick this?'.

In the end, it's the customer who is always right.  Don't be afraid to make them pay more for extras, though.

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

Communication is #1.

If you can't define something, don't proceed with it.
If you must proceed, you provide the definition to which you will work towards, and let the client know that if it's changed, it will cost extra
Document and have sign-offs at various stages.
If necessary, limit proceeding until feedback is given.

If the client doesn't want to be involved in the design process, you need to clearly state what your deliverables are (functionality?) and what's extra if change is required (visuals?)

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

It ism\n't just the software industry.  We have customers who will continually make design changes.  They end up buying that extra time and effort expended, as well as any tooling, etc which is obsoleted.  It seems frustrating, but we still get paid.

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

That was my point in my 1st post.  

You can't stop the customer chaning their mind or not giving you the feedback you need it when you need it etc..  

However, you can define up front that this will cost them.  This combined with having a common understanding of what is going to be done for the quoted cost (i.e. well defined requirement, scope of work etc.) before commencing work should minimize the financial impact to you.  (Easier said than done sometimes but in theory...)

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

There are a couple of ways and it is a common problem in all industries.  1 - as was stated, you have contract language, the clinet has X days to review and comment or it is considered approved.  2 - you need a very rigorous management of change program and it must be used.

You have to base line the design at some point and after that, changes are documented, estimates prepared and presented to the clinet for approval.  No approval, no change.

Greg Lamberson
Consultant - Upstream Energy
Website: www.oil-gas-consulting.com

RE: how to deal with churn - rework caused by the client

A good point to note is the duration for reviews pointed out by Lamberson, often times in order to keep customers happy one will end up absorbing incidental cost accruing from customers' indecisiveness.

Having a limit for review duration on contract is one way of solving two recurring contract issues:
1 You get an Approved (or Not) within reasonable time.
2 You have a caveat that if the duration is exceeded reviews are deemed approved, which implies you can file for claims or cost variations.

I have never seen a project that went through without a change in scope; however the customer must be made to understand in very unambiguous terms that this will cost them either in time or money.

Gregory Akhibi
Clearwaters Consulting Ltd

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