In pursuing successful projects there is an urgent need to both apply good contract management as well as maintain good communicative relationships between the various players around.
Depending on the kind of contract, sometimes good contract management implies that the contract, once signed, can stay in a drawer: the contract only needs to be used in case of dire circumstances. Management processes are not part of such contract. On the other hand, there are contracts which prescribe, step by step, what needs to be done to move through the various stages of the project. These, as well as contracts with strict notice provisions, require day to day record keeping, and day to day submitting notices, complying with all sorts if of contractual rights and obligations.
But, how should participants behave to stay out of trouble? They should make sure to separate the people from the problem. Invest in a relation in which trust, faith, good communication, no hidden agendas, reliability and consistencies are hallmarks. And good, clear and efficient communication. Obviously, it does not promote a collaborative behaviour when a notice of default contains all sorts of legal language dressed in personal language (‘we hold you liable for damages’ … ‘you are in default’ … ‘you have not kept your promise to…’). What works is businesslike communication, clear, transparent and with a view of achieving a clear result.
What makes these transmittals even less effective, when these are transmitted on a Friday afternoon, without proper prior oral prenotification. The individuals on the receiving end, will process the contents of such communications during a stressed weekend and return on Monday, with a vengeance.
As in real life, in projects, it is worthwhile to, prior to hitting the send-button, ask oneself the questions: Is it true, is it kind and is it necessary? And, am I striking the right tone?
One cannot have a project successfully completed without some form of a proper, consistent and well written contract. But one cannot works with such a contract without proper collaboration,. Parties should work together to achieve that, and even have fun in achieving milestones on time, together, one project!