The expectations of the client in relation to factors such as time, cost, and quality are to be made explicit at the crucial initiation phase of the project as these factors, when combined together, form the framework by which eventual project risks and performance can be evaluated.
The three factors— time, cost and quality—form the primary criteria that are conventionally used to measure project performance.
With regard to the time factor, there are two key needs. Firstly, there is a real need to organize and deliver the project; so that it is ready for use as per the client’s original request. Secondly, there is also a real need to establish key or milestone dates that must be met if the project is to meet its deadline. Such milestones can initially be set at high or strategic levels in terms of the project overall.
As for the cost factor, generally, for many clients, there is a cost constraint in that there may be limited financial resources allocated to a project. Therefore, it may be necessary to look into these two key areas. Firstly, the evaluation of the initial project price forecast is crucial as this is required to develop a meaningful management cost control system. Secondly, the identification of the project cost limits, associated fee levels, overall initial design and relevant development cost limits are crucial as the availability of such reliable cost information will enable the client to make decisions on whether the project should proceed and if so, which proposal would facilitate the optimum use of finance.
With regard to the quality factor, there must be in place a draft quality statement setting out the anticipated quality plan and quality assurance requirements. Such information, if reliably communicated to the client, will ensure that the relevant standards that can be achieved with the project budget are made known to the client.
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