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Sarah Schutte


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The Impact of Law on an under-rated art by Sarah Schutte, solicitor-advocate speaking at Bringing Projects to Life conference #eVa21

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Sarah Schutte

  1. 1. Bringing projects to life #eVa21 The impact of law on an under-rated art by Sarah Schütte of Schutte Consulting Limited For eVaintheUK Conference 16 and 17 June 2016 © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 1
  2. 2. Reflections on the management of a project In homage to Taylor Swift… © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 2
  3. 3. “Out of the woods” Looking at the programme now It all seemed so simple (if only it was) We were sitting at your desk I remember You took a screenshot of it Then discovered We shouldn’t work in black and white ‘Cos the PM worked in screaming color And I remember thinking… Are we out of the woods yet? (with those pesky programme acceptance criteria) x4 Are we in the clear yet? (is the PM going to accept it?) x4 Good! © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 3
  4. 4. “Out of the woods” Looking at it now (the one dated) last December It was built to fall apart Then be put back together That logic hanging from the task The one we couldn't quite forget (despite trying) So we decided To move the lags around so it would work Colleague, like we stood a chance The critical path’s gone flying, flying, flying And I remember thinkin’ Are we out of the woods yet? (with those pesky programme acceptance criteria) x4 Are we in the clear yet? (is the PM going to accept it?) x4 Good! © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 4
  5. 5. “Out of the Woods” Remember when you hit the “send” too soon? The PM rejected it, the job went ’boom’ When you started cryin', colleague, I did, too Our reputation ruined, wasted money too Remember when we couldn't take the heat I served notice and said, "I'm settin' you free” But the issues turned out to be their risks And then the programme worked, and you were lookin' at me You were lookin' at me You were lookin' at me I remember, oh, I remember…... Miss Swift was contacted for approval of these tongue-in-cheek lyrics.. Reply © Original lyrics by Taylor Swift 2014 © adapted lyrics by Sarah Schütte 2016. Note: awaited… © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 5
  6. 6. How can Project Managers get out of the woods? (1)  In the lyrics I wrote, there are several references to issues concerned with law and project management:  The difficulty of fulfilling the programme acceptance criteria  The fear that the PM would reject the programme (and the consequences thereof)  Serving notice to walk away from the contract  Risk allocation: Issues turning out to be the other party’s risks  The relief that the programme was compliant  Use law to help you navigate a path through the trees! © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 6
  7. 7. How can Project Managers get out of the woods? (2)  My beliefs  Project management is an under-rated art operating within a straightjacket (the law)  PMs can protect themselves by learning how to chart legal territory  The legally-astute PM is the PM of choice because (s)he adds value to a project  APM’s core belief, built into its “FIVE Dimensions of Professionalism”: we can improve the UK’s project delivery capability by building a better professional  Together, we see many benefits to PMs appreciating the law: one is to bring context to projects i.e. “bring projects to life”  How can we do this and why does it matter? © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 7
  8. 8. Understanding Project Management  What is a project?  A task which is transient i.e. has a beginning and an end. Not business-as-usual activity  There should be an identifiable desirable i.e. an ”outcome, output, benefit or objective” (APM)  A project is usually subject to a timescale, a budget and quality-driven criteria  For a project to succeed, the desirable must be achieved  What is “project management”?  “the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objective” (APM)  Projects are found in every industry, and can be of any size and purpose AND they are temporary and focused  Technical expertise + APM accreditation = good PM  How to become better (or, great, or excellent)? © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 8
  9. 9. The legal straightjacket: PM essentials (1)  Impact of the law  In the UK, law is a “straightjacket”  Law sets out the framework for behaviour and prescribes rules for individuals and organisations to operate lawfully (i.e. without criminal or civil consequence)  Law underpins APM certification rules e.g. it provides comfort to APM members to have faith in APM’s authority and determination to uphold professional and ethical standards  In project setting, PMs have many responsibilities to juggle & feel pressure from many sides to deliver  Add basic legal knowledge to expand your skill-set and to support you to deliver your responsibilities © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 9
  10. 10. The legal straightjacket: PM essentials (2)  Broad outline of the UK’s legal framework  Common law of contract and tort  Supplemented by codification (statute) e.g. Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, Supply of Services and Goods Act 1982, Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, Bribery Act 2010, Insurance Act 2015  Supplemented by regulation e.g. HSE, EA, ORR, ICO, FCA  Supplemented by compliance e.g. Data Protection Act 1988, Freedom of Information Act 2000  Supplemented by EU law e.g. BSEN, ECHR, Procurement Directive  Optional Codes of Practice e.g. Prompt Payment Code, Considerate Constructors Code  Bolstered by case law (judgments of the Court) and decisions by tribunals having devolved jurisdiction (e.g. Competition Commission), plus other tribunals (e.g. adjudication, arbitration)  Wow, that’s a lot for PMs to get to grips with!  Law is complex, and ever-changing… © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 10
  11. 11. Charting legal territory (1)  Core PM duties/ activities  Drive progress proactively  Manage project communications/ record-keeping  Assess risk and manage change control  Periodically interpret contract and facilitate practical resolution of issues, avoiding formal dispute resolution  Certify work done, milestones achieved and administer payment  Analyse the programme (with support?), report on progress and seek continuous improvement  If external:  Act independently, not in any biased way (& be seen to do so)  Make contractually binding decisions using professional judgment  Be accountable to both parties  Plus industry-specific duties and activities © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 11
  12. 12. Charting legal territory (2)  Hazards which a PM could encounter at any stage  Your performance is criticised  If external: your independence is questioned  Not knowing your brief and straying outside inadvertently  Allegation of professional negligence i.e. you failed to comply with your responsibilities, or you made a mistake, causing loss or damage to someone to whom you owed a duty, either in contract or tort or both, or a statutory duty  Ethical issues  Risk to accredited status  Reputation and integrity: personal and corporate  Stress, time and energy (whether proven or not…) © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 12
  13. 13. Charting legal territory (3)  How can a PM avoid, or manage his/her way out of, such hazards  Understand your remit (scope of services)  Understand the rights and remedies which the law gives to others (including internal and/ or external stakeholders)  Understand the importance of professional indemnity insurance, and how to preserve cover  Loss or damage suffered by others can be significant e.g. incorrect valuation or inaction leading to time- or claim- bar  If PII cover is denied, the organisation has to cover the costs consequences of the risk arising © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 13
  14. 14. The legally-astute PM is the PM of choice (1) 10 tips on using law to strengthen your PM skills and credentials 1. Take time to read & understand the project deliverables, & ask questions if unclear 2. Invest in yourself – undertake detailed training on the basics of law, and regular refresher training 3. “Manage” your project – be a confident and proactive PM knowing law can support you 4. Make the law your starting point in the event of issues arising, since it will provide the answer, ultimately 5. Take the facts you know when communicating, and build a story logically, with reference to contract clauses, events and documents © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 14
  15. 15. The legally-astute PM is the PM of choice (2) 10 tips on using law to strengthen your PM skills and credentials (continued) 6. Use the parameters (straightjacket) of law to help you to weigh up the reliability of information/ data 7. Law optimises your ability to operate commercially and find workable solutions for all 8. Remember that no project is identical so push yourself to broaden your experience and expertise, knowing that the law provides a cushion of support 9. Use your legal and professional contacts as sounding boards and seek advice whenever unsure 10. Bring your projects to life! See law as complementary to your technical skills and don’t be afraid to use it! © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 15
  16. 16. The legally-astute PM is the PM of choice (3) 10 observed benefits of a “great”(or “excellent”) PM 1. Well-rounded skill-set is attractive to clients in a competitive market 2. Robust decisions based on legal principles and sound judgment 3. Project parties respect the authority of a “great” PM 4. Stakeholders have confidence in a “great” PM’s ability to deliver value on their behalf 5. The likelihood of challenge to a “great” PM’s decision (i.e. resulting in a dispute) is reduced © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 16
  17. 17. The legally-astute PM is the PM of choice (4) 10 observed benefits of a “great” PM 6. Measurably better outcomes for project delivery and people involved (relationships) 7. Short term: greater turnover via repeat engagements/ recommendations 8. Medium term: grow reputation by building up experience and expertise, improved efficiency and therefore profit margin 9. Long term: expand offering to include expert advisor/ witness work 10. A great PM brings his / her projects to life by comfortably operating within the legal framework What conclusions can be made about the relevance of law to PMs? © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 17
  18. 18. Contact: Phone: +44(0)7970101188 Email: Website: Linked In: Sarah Schutte and Schutte Consulting Limited Twitter: @sarahschutte1 and @schutteconsulting #SCLGlobal #SCLatSW11 #AskSarahs Skype: Sarah Schutte Sharp © 2016 Schutte Consulting Limited 13