“On time, on budget, and on scope” is the mantra of project managers tasked with delivering projects for their clients. Often, however, things change. For example, the client may find that the business climate has changed, necessitating change in the scope, or additional details may emerge that make the project more complex. The key from a project management standpoint is to understand the client’s underlying business objectives and work towards delivering on those objectives. That is easier said than done since design professionals need to manage the client’s expectations, and to a certain extent, anticipate their needs. These are the intangible factors that help firms gain their client’s trust.
If a design professional has been able to meet the client’s underlying business objectives, it is very unlikely that the client will bring a professional liability claim against the design professional. We have found that even if things don’t go well on a particular project, a client who trusts their design firm based on their ability to meet underlying business objectives rarely brings a professional liability claim against that firm.