Knowing where to draw the line is a common problem in programme management. Some contracts require periodic programme updates, others only require them for changes or when requested.
Firstly knowing your contract is the most important thing to do as this will dictate the minimum requirements for programme updates, assessment and demonstration of change.
The contract requirements are the minimum and the more you can do to help demonstrate, visualise and narrate change and delays the more likely you are to reach agreement in a timely manner.
As construction projects can undergo vast amounts of change, knowing what to include and not include in the update can sometimes be confusing.
The rule of thumb should be the data date. That's the date the programme will be updated to. If you were aware of some information or a change occurred during this time then it should be included in the update. As some changes can develop over time you can only update to the level of knowledge and understanding at that precise moment in time.
I like to think of the data date as a snapshot in time and ask the question, were we aware of this issue on this date or did the event occur before or after the data date. This needs to be the line in the sand.
As some programmes can be complicated they can take a few days after the data date to update, in this time events can unfold or new information become apparent that would impact the programme. If this happens after the data date then the line has been drawn and it will need to be included in the next programme update.
Some changes may be sufficient to require an interim programme update to help demonstrate the change. Remember the contract may stipulate periods for programme submissions but this is a minimum, if you need an interim update to help demonstrate impact then its a good idea to do so.
I've known teams to hold back on an update expecting a change to transpire or for an instruction to come that will result in a change. Inevitably this comes much later than expected and the project then goes a substantial amount of time without an update. Not a good place to be in.
Drawing a line on the data date for what has happened, what is known and what has been instructed at that precise moment in time is important when working with periodic programme management. If the line is blurred the assessment of change can become distorted and could lead to entitlement being lost.
If you would like any assistance with the demonstration of change or an independent review of a programme submission then please get in touch.
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