Contracting 101: Taking Notes

As I’ve noted, contracts matter.  But so do conversations, especially conversations at meetings in which you reach agreement on something with the client.

In start-up and ongoing projects, the something can be some deliverable. Some change to procedures – theirs or yours. Some task or project. Some schedule. Some thing that doesn’t warrant a contract amendment or not yet.

Good contract management means taking good notes at the time. It means documenting agreements in minutes or emails or both. It means reporting your work or progress against the terms of what was agreed.

Good proposal management means taking good notes, too. Through inattention, sloppiness, or just the various ills that flesh is heir to, clients sometimes say things about the procurement in meetings. Things that don’t make it into an RFP amendment or even into their minutes of the meeting:

  • Some interpretation of a contract clause
  • Some clarification of a response requirement
  • Some change to a Work requirement

How nice, then, that you have it in your hands to capture what was said, to document it, and to submit it for client acknowledgement if they happened to miss it.

Never count on everybody remembering the same thing the same way – or at all. Take formal notes.