In my previous post (here), I mentioned my participation on a Project Management panel session at the recent Minnesota Power Systems Conference (MIPSYON), a premier conference providing electric utility engineers and consultants the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the changing industry. This important topic drew over 200 people, and I would like to share a highlight from the event.
In representing the consultant engineering perspective on the panel, I emphasized one point that is easily overlooked but extremely important. At the time of project award, it is critical for the client and the consultant to take a pause in order to clarify expectations. Why? Because the level of project detail available at the time a request for proposal (RFP) is issued can vary, and it’s often fairly limited. Therefore, the consultant makes assumptions and may exclude/add certain services in order to provide a comprehensive proposal based on their understanding of the project at that time. Anywhere from two hours to several months may pass between proposal submittal and notice of award. In the latter case, project details may have changed, as projects are always evolving. It is critical for the client and consultant to take a moment to review assumptions, exclusions and additional services before proceeding with a purchase order or other project kick off action. This pause takes tremendous discipline as the clock is generally already ticking by the time the notice of award comes out.