If you inherit a project and weren’t involved in scoping it, or if you scoped a new project but the client sent over the final contract for it, there is a high risk for things to get lost in translation. Reading through sales documents will eliminate ambiguity or give you cause to initiate follow up calls and gain clarity as you embark on your project journey.
In this article
The Importance Of Sales DocumentsWhy should you care about reading these types of documents?
- You need to make sure the client’s version of the contract matches the details provided in your agency’s scope of project work or pitch document.
- You weren’t involved in the scoping of the project so you need to make sure what you heard from your sales or account team matches what the contract outlines.
- You don’t know much about the project so you’re using sales documents to piece together details and project deliverables.
- You need to make sure there aren’t any “gotcha” requirements that weren’t accounted for in your firm’s pricing.
- You should be able to demonstrate to your client that you understand the project parameters and will establish a plan to manage them.
- It’s your job to mitigate project risks.
- The client’s Request for Proposal (“RFP”)
- Your agency’s proposal (sometimes called a pitch deck or sales proposal)
- The final signed financial contract
RFPs and contracts can be very long and are often filled with technical or legal details that might not make much sense to you; this is okay. Focus and read the fine print and be on the lookout for keywords and phrases that matter to you: schedule, budget, timing, and logistics-related terms.
What Questions Should I Be Asking?As you read through the RFP, the pitch slides, and the contract details, here is a checklist of items you should account for.
- What is the approved budget amount?
- What is the rate?
- Is the budget segmented or allocated in any specific way by phase or deliverables (ex. redesign versus ongoing post-launch support)?
- How many job codes do you need to set up (ex. Redesign, support etc.)?
- Are there pass-through costs?
- Is there a deposit or initial down payment?
- Is there a PO or contract number to be aware of?
- What are the billing details?
- Is this fixed fee or time and materials (or some other billing arrangement)?
- Who needs to receive the invoice?
- What are their contact details?
- How does the invoice need to be delivered (email, hard copy, etc.)?
- What are the payment terms?
- Are there specific notes the client requires on the invoice?
- Is there a start date or delivery date outlined anywhere in the document?
- Does the document make assumptions about the phases or milestones of the project and when they should be completed?
- Are there timeline drivers listed (ex. project must launch ahead of the start of the academic school year)?
- Are there any penalties or considerations for not meeting scheduled milestones?
- Is there a list of mandatory features?
- What does the scope say about what is part of the project and what needs to be included in the final website?
- Is it assumed you will leverage code or assets from another project or build something a certain way?
- Are there any set expectations or project objectives listed for how the project will function or look?
- Does the project need to integrate with any other service or platform?
- Are there accessibility or security compliance expectations listed?
- Are there features or requirements in there that you’re not confident your team members can deliver against?
- Are there assumptions on team dynamics or decision makers?
- Does the scope say anything about using in-house resources for production?
- Is it assumed you will use certain project management software or other project management tools to collaborate?
- Are there special reviews or approvals that need to be included in your roadmap (ex. City Council review, legal or regulatory review process, Board of Directors approval, executive sponsor review, etc.)?
- How long might these reviews take?
- Are there any submission guidelines provided or do you need to follow up to obtain those?
- Are there any dependencies on your end or the client’s end that need to be accounted for?
- Are there any other outside vendors listed that you may need to interact with?