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#261: Your Client is a Critical Part of Your Project Estimates

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 15, 2010
Updated: Monday, March 15, 2010
Our consulting firm has a detailed and very successful project planning methodology but some projects are compromised by the client's lack of cooperation or commitment of resources. How do other consultants deal with this?

Your situation is common. Consultants who say they never experience this are likely executing projects that they are doing by themselves without much client interaction. Work with clients should be a joint effort. Consultants provide expertise, perspective, information and methodologies. Clients provide culture, history, facilities, staff expertise, and so on. Both are necessarily involved in the engagement to improve performance.

One good approach is to include the client resources in you project plan. Consider the entire project and be explicit about how many and what kind of client hours are required. Some clients don't fully consider their own time required when you say you want to do a few focus groups, then realize that they are committing to hundreds of hours of staff time. This is as much a project cost as your fees.

Tip: This is a professional and ethical issue, in essence a matter of full disclosure. Failing to clearly detail what hours, skills, facilities, information and risks a client is expected to provide is an insufficient project plan. Show your client that you consider full costs in your planning. More than one client of mine has said that they have never had a consultant include these costs in their proposals and they really appreciated my doing so.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  customer understanding  goodwill  planning  proposals 

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