Are Your Services S.M.A.R.T. ?

Are Your Services S.M.A.R.T.?

Let’s expand a little on last week’s post regarding how consultants and other professional services providers can help avoid the problem of being required to re-perform services without any additional compensation as a result of a poorly drafted client agreement.

While some types of projects do lend themselves to a more general description of the services to be provided, I have found over the last 20+ years that in most situations having a well-drafted statement of work leads to happier and more profitable client engagements.

How do you make sure your statement of work actually works?  Make sure it’s S.M.A.R.T:

* Specific

* Measurable

* Achievable

* Relevant

* Time Bound 

Even though the SMART acronym was first applied to goal setting, it is a great guide for your statement of work too.  

Here are some things to think about for your next client project:

SPECIFIC - What materials will you provide?  What materials will the client provide?  Will you attend meetings?  By telephone?  By Skype?  In person? Will you provide reports?  How many?

MEASURABLE - What is the definition of successful completion of your services? How many hours will you work?  How many tests will you run?  What are interim and final milestones? 

ACHIEVABLE - Are you promising an end-goal that you cannot control?  Does your performance hinge on the client (or a third party) taking certain actions?  

RELEVANT - Are the services tailored to the client’s specific needs?  Are you trying to describe too many different projects in the same SOW?  Should it be divided into multiple SOWs?

TIME BOUND - When you will start your work?  When will you complete your work?  Do you have interim milestone dates?

So be S.M.A.R.T. out there and Let’s Get Down to Business!