We are building a “relationship” with this new client

Frame-breakers, or Luddites, smashing a loom. ...

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Oh no. The above word came up in a meeting yesterday and my heart sank – Relationship

Translated into normal language not management speak, it means: the project is under priced; we then gave them some freebies (which is called value engineering); we promised to be on site within a week; and we will complete the project a month earlier than it is humanly possible.  But we are building a relationship because this new client will be fantastic to work with, will be a “key stakeholder” and we will all skip towards practical completion, profit maximised and enhancing our reputation all the way.

Reality does not hit immediately but the warning signs start to emerge. Where are the drawings “approved for construction”?  Why are the agreed inclusions/exclusions different in the contract documents?  Why is it that the client’s representative got sacked from the gestapo for cruelty?

The world weary project manager has seen it all before.  Usually some bright business development manager has “cultivated a relationship” with a “key player” and the brass tacks of the project are merely white noise which distracts from the latte circuit. It is easy to promise the world when someone else has to deliver it.

However, woe betide anyone who dares to say :hang on a minute, who is this client, have we spoke to builders who have worked for them. The silence is deafening and because most PMs are true pragmatists they are countered with being accused of not being “proactive” or even Luddites.

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