How can you protect yourself from rising change control costs?
Alterations to agreed-upon deliverables are common practice during change projects/programmes.
As with all projects/programmes, somewhere along the line the scope changes and this may or may not cost you more than what you’d originally agreed to pay a third-party provider for the piece of work you wanted to have done.
Taking building a house as an analogy, at some point someone is going to decide they want a room painted pink rather than black, or that they want it bigger or smaller.
“How does change control work at Rullion Change Delivery?” is a question one of our clients recently asked us.
“Do you carry out a change impact assessment and then charge me 50% more because you are going to have to start all over again? How do I protect myself from an uplift in fees because of change? A lot of outsource providers will agree to do a piece of work and then when a small thing needs to change halfway through the project, they make their money off the change request. They’ll lowball first and then hike up. How does that work with Rullion?”
There’s a common perception that consultancies make their money from change control requests. For example, they will agree to do a piece of work, price that piece of work and then when a client asks for what they might consider a small change, the cost of change relative to the overall project is much higher.
What would Rullion Change Delivery do?
Ask Chris Evans, Project Solutions Director and he will confirm: “From our perspective, that’s not how we operate.
Rullion Change Delivery works on a fixed outcome basis. That means that we will deliver clearly defined objectives that have been agreed upfront.
We agree on milestone dates, a series of deliverables that must be completed by these dates and acceptance criteria that confirms the specifics that must be completed. The client is paying for the completion of a task.”
If a change to the original scope is requested midway through a project, the cost implications of this will depend on when you ask for the change and the impact the change will have on the planned work.
In determining this, Rullion takes a common-sense approach to change delivery and that is something that is established “very early on in our relationship with clients” to avoid such eventualities, Chris added.
Using the house analogy again, if you requested mid project that we paint a room pink instead of black as planned, it could cost you nothing extra – if we haven’t bought the black paint, said Chris.
If we have already painted it black, and we repaint the room, that obviously means more time and effort to invest on our part, so that would cost you more, he said.
But a bigger question begs to be asked and that is: Why?
“Why don’t we know that you want it pink, not black? Is that because you’ve chosen not to tell us? Is that because we didn’t ask the right questions?”
Given Rullion Change Delivery typically asks for bi-weekly reviews with client stakeholders to discuss progress against milestones and to approve deliverables due between reviews, this should not happen, he said.
Chris said there was a usually a “root cause” as to why any change request has come about and that the onus was on Rullion to get to the crux of that sooner than later.
“Our intention is to deliver a project, not just to make as much money as we can, quickly.”
Referring to two out of five Rullion values, Reputation is Everything and More Than Money, Chris said: “We live and breathe those values. We wouldn’t put ourselves in a position where you start to feel like you are being unfairly charged for what is a relatively simple change request. It would be rectified very promptly and wouldn’t be allowed to happen in our business.”
However, if there is a material change, we will discuss it with your consultant and agree to any change in commercials and create a change note as an addendum to the SOW. Any requests are tracked on Monday.com and there is an auditable trail if required.
Collis Potter Huntington, the American industrialist once hung a sign at the entrance to his Newport News Shipbuilding yard that read: “We shall build good ships here. At a profit—if we can. At a loss—if we must. But always good ships.” Our approach to delivering projects is the same, said Chris.