In class last week, the discussion turned to the topic of Gentlemen's agreements and their place in project management. The formal answer is that there is no place for them - only what can be referenced in the contract should be done, and done as specified. But the conversation covered some of the greyer areas - suppose it's an internal customer, suppose you have a good long term relationship with the client, isn't the effort of drawing up a contract sometimes greater than the risk of not having one?
It does seem that the constant reference to what's legal does tend to slow down one's ability to deliver. And, as we see from political life, following the boundary between what's legal and what's not does result in a less congenial society. People of good will who want to do a good job and expect others to do the same often find the additional legal processes very burdensome.
So it's as well to be reminded sometimes what the consequences can be of not having the insurance that the law provides. This paper from 2002 by Frances Fowler gives a couple of interesting short case studies. It also gives some guidelines about a project manager's conduct to avoid getting caught on the wrong side.Legal Aspects of Project Management
Labels: law, legal-matters, project-management, project-manager-tips