Remember Shakespeare’s All's Well That Ends Well as you come to the end of a project. To punctuate the end of your next contract, try using a post-project form, which allows you to provide an overview of the work you've accomplished and asks for your clients' acknowledgement that it was satisfactory. You can present this document during your final visit to the client site to follow up on any lingering details. The accompanying conversation about how you've served the client is sure to underscore the official conclusion of your service.
The means to an end
Without a definitive conclusion to projects, some clients may try to ride the coattails of their original contract, soliciting additional support, phone consultations, and "just one more thing." This situation can be an especially slippery slope for consultants who provide specific types of ongoing support for some clients. Occasionally providing free maintenance or over-the-phone consultations for your best clients can be beneficial, but remember that it can leave you open to aggravation, and, at worst, exploitation and litigation.
Once you're on the downhill slide, it can be difficult to keep your client from taking advantage of your time without sounding rude or ungrateful for the client's business. You may even jeopardize future contracts with the client and any referrals they may provide.
To help you construct your post-project form, we've created a sample and coupled it with another one from a TechRepublic member. Download the two sample post-project forms and create one for your firm.
More advice about post-project documentation
The push for featuring these forms began when TechRepublic member Ketso requested advice for creating post-implementation documentation in our Technical Q&A, a forum for TechRepublic members. In a previous article, we presented the advice he received from members and an industry expert.
You may also find valuable information in these tips for wrapping up projects or from TechRepublic columnist Tom Mochal's article about managing follow-up work.
Do you have a similar document?
Do you have your own version of a post-implementation or a post-project document? Share it with us. If we think it can help other members, we’ll publish it.