In the world of project management and business in general, a clearly defined agreement is essential, without which goals and deliverables will be difficult to understand. Not just that, all parties involved in the project may find it hard to deliver what is expected of them in any contract without an agreement.
For instance, if you decide to engage a local publishing outfit to publish your newly finished book. In between your talks and negotiations, it is expected that while both parties are seated on the table, they will discuss such things as what your budget is, how many copies you want to publish, and when the first 200 or 500 copies will be out of the press.
Even as this project kicks off and proceeds, unforeseen occurrences, which significantly affect the agreement’s conditions, may arise. In this case, there’s a need for both parties to return to the negotiation table and make adjustments. The adjustment could mean drawing up a new project agreement or simply making modifications to the existing agreement. Regardless of what the case may be, the goal is to, once again, achieve a mutually beneficial agreement that eliminates hitches and facilitates the project like tehnički pregled.
Simple Agreement And Why They Are Important
Project agreement and project contracts often mean the same thing. They can be used interchangeably when referring to the agreement signed by a client and contractor regarding a specific project. On the other hand, a simple agreement is less complicated documentation signed by both parties and usually serves the same purpose of providing project details. The importance of having a written work agreement or project contract cannot be overemphasized. For a start, a clear work agreement provides both parties (contractor and client) with a clear understanding of their commitment, obligations, expectations, and deadlines.
A simple agreement is legally binding on both parties. It stipulates in clear terms the details of a project, including pricing, deadlines, specific project details, obligations, and responsibilities expected from both the service provider and the client. However, such an agreement is subject to possible amendments if the client’s expectations for the job changes along the line. One good thing about having a simple agreement is that it clears every possible doubt in the air, leaving no room for guesses regarding the client’s responsibilities and deliverables expected from the contractor. For example, a simple agreement for a website contract provides terms of service for a web design project. Typically, the contract lists out what the web designer and clients will be responsible for during the project, a breakdown of payment information and when payment is due, and submission timelines for the project.
The agreement may also include the legal rights of each party. In some cases, a simple agreement still makes provision for unplanned expenses or allows the contractor to make necessary adjustments as they deem fit. Such adjustments do not shoot beyond the project’s budget. By and large, the template of a typical project contract is not cast in stone. But it is essential as an employer or a client to have a clear agreement with anyone or organization you intend to engage for any business or project. This way, you save yourself the trouble of going back and forth on deliverables or arguing overpayments and deadlines.
The Success Of Your Project Depends On Having A Clearly Defined Agreement
Having clear agreements for each business relationship you enter into has several benefits. Even the law recognizes the importance of having a well-drafted employment or project contract. You might have worked with a particular individual or contractor on other projects without issues, perhaps because everything had gone well, at least as smoothly as envisaged. And as such, it may be a bit difficult to consider going through the stress of drafting a project agreement. The benefit of an agreement is well understood in situations where misunderstandings arise, leading to issues that an agreement could have resolved, had it been in place at first. Both parties may enter into a business relationship with the best intentions but, as we know, may not always follow an expected path. The benefits of a well-written project contract include:
#1 Elimination Of Doubt And Grey Areas
With a project agreement in place, both parties understand the project’s budget, specific details about the project, expected completion date, and possible extension.
#2 Effective Communication
Aside from making room for possible future amendments, a project contract provides a clear communication channel in case further clarification is needed during the project. If things go a different way than expected, both you and the contractor(s) know how to reach the other party and present your concerns. This method allows for easy resolution of conflicts and clarifications of misunderstandings before things fall apart.
#3 Effective Outsourcing
A project contract could also be used when outsourcing a job to another service provider. It comes handy. A wedding photographer who has several engagements can leverage a simple agreement to initiate a seamless work relationship between him and other photographers to deliver on all the projects at hand. As mentioned earlier, it not only spells out the rights and responsibilities of the relationship between you and the person(s) or contractors he’ll be working with. It also limits project risks and reduces, if not eliminates, possible misunderstandings.
#4 Protecting Your Confidentiality And Intellectual property
Without a clearly communicated and documented agreement between you and the project executor, this may not be easy to achieve. If your business has proprietary information, it is potentially injurious to your business to work without an agreement.
So, to protect sensitive information relating to business from getting into the hands of your competitors, you may need to implement an enforceable non-compete or non-disclosure clause in the agreement to protect your commercial interests.
Basic Essentials Of A Project Contract
For concerns over drafting a legally binding document, the good news is that an agreement does not necessarily have to contain legal jargon and hard words. Basically, a simple, easy-to-understand documentation of relevant and specific details about the project would suffice. When implementing an agreement for your next project, you want to look out for the following details:
1. Names And Address Of Both Parties: The first thing is to identify the parties involved in the contract. It’s essential that the names of the entities involved in the project or business be spelled out. This should also include the date the agreement was signed.
2. The Scope of the project: It’s important to define the project’s scope and boundaries to leave the other party with clear definitions of obligations and responsibilities. This has to be thorough enough to take care of possible grey areas in the project’s future.
3. Duration: The length of time the project is expected to be completed should be specified in your contract agreement.
4. Changes And Cancellations: The agreement ought to specify where changes may arise and how much change should be allowed. Every project tends to deviate slightly or significantly from initially agreed on scope, hence the need to include the possibility of this in the project contract. Also, be sure to specify how much reviews or adjustments you want before the job is accepted and approved.
5. Payment and deadlines: To avoid arguments and delayed expectations regarding when payment should be made, how much should be paid, pricing must be clearly stated and documented. If adjustments should arise later, an agreement specifies if the budget for the project covers for it or not.
While the agreement can be drafted to suit your need and that of your client or contractor, it should be explicit enough to avoid misunderstandings, but also flexible enough to allow for the amicable resolution of disputes, should any arise later. A bad agreement can cost your business time and money, disrupt business, and eventual loss of clients.
Some Famous Case Studies Failed Projects Arising From Agreement Issues
The cases highlighted below show how a bad agreement can cost your business time, money, and possible loss of reputation.
IBM and Queensland
In December 2007, Queensland hired IBM to develop an application to administer payroll for their health department. IBM agreed that a completed project would be delivered by mid-2008 at the cost of $6 million. The project lingered for several years, and by completion, IBM announced that costs had escalated to $1.2 billion, 16,000 percent above the budget.
A review of the disaster later revealed that Queensland didn’t communicate their full expectations to IBM. On the other hand, IBM failed to review the contract details, hence the expected spike in implementation cost.
US Navy and EDS
In the case of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and the US Navy, poor communications resulted in a failed project. The US Navy and Marine Corps had engaged EDS to provide voice, video, network, desktops, and system training for their personnel. Four years after the project’s start, EDS had lost 500 million in assets because it failed to meet up with expectations on the project. The issue here is that EDS failed to grasp the full scope of the project before starting. There were underlying details, which EDS failed to capture in their review, which led to unforeseen expenses. To make matters worse, EDS had to absorb the costs for tens of thousands of hardware changes.
The importance of a well-written contract agreement cannot be understated; hence it should be taken seriously. Regardless of whether both parties have worked together on several other projects, or they just seem too perfect to be harmful, still sign a binding agreement. To have your projects delivered as expected, within budget, and without delays, be sure to capture all essential details in an agreement.