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The risk factor is always present to destabilize that ideal situation.
Just because we believe we are communicating effectively doesn't mean we are. Differences in understanding, expectations or lack of clarity in contract terms can lead to such situations.
The schedule is not for communicating better. To communicating better you have to use the best way to do that according to your stakeholders and the schedule could be an input. All related to claims are out of the schedule scope. Again, it could be an input for creating what you agree as the way to put claims on the table. This is agree when acquisition is performed, usually.
My current scenario is that our buyer (client) has assumed a very unrealistic expectation from the project ,let me list a few of them:
1. Targeting a very short duration of the project.
2. Assuming the schedule is 100% accurate and final. ( no rolling wave planning )
3. Several areas of scope are clear. (But still making a lot of changes post-contract)
4. Expecting the seller( contractor ) to bring their own safety equipment (such as certified Scaffolding , helmets , goggles , Hi- Visibility Jackets etc) [but Missing a lot of items in Bill of Quantities]. [ Forcing the contractor to cut cost elsewhere]
Since I have just joined the project as a PM, these assumptions by the buyer will definitely delay this project and I want to be ready for preparing claims in advance.
However, in my country (Pakistan) buyers (client) are always in Higher position and they can force the Seller (contractor) to work long hours without payments for years even in-spite of not controlling the project in an efficient manner.
What should be my objective/target in this scenario.
The schedule being a communication tool is an extremely broad definition. Schedules turn raw data into information which impact the stakeholders, as do most if not all PM tools.
To do that schedules show planned events over time and relative to one another. That information is used for many purposes. Some are records of contractual dates, while others are intermediate working dates that show how we plan to achieve major milestones.
I agree with Sergio.
sorry to read about your situation with that project and generally for your country's projects.
Surely, you must engage in expectations management and contrast wishful thinking with reality. If they push you in a loosing corner, you will employ defensive strategies that will also harm them. A good chance to end up with a loose-loose strategy.
The best way for a project is to work in a win-win mindset, see joint challenges, risks, help each other. Also in the west, lawyers may make contract terms difficult, so it is not only a Pakistan issue. That is why Chinese and Japanese do not care much about a contract (which is only a milestone in a waterfall lifecycle anyhow), but about the relationship and the end result.
I was successful (and also failed in some occasions) in the past to agree that we put aside contractual details and establish a realistic target and a workable schedule.
Good luck. You will learn a lot.
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