Once upon a time, while a project was underway, a small
change was required. This was neither specified nor was
approved in the project. However, it was required to ensure
smooth progress of the project and thus, the contractor was
asked to implement it. The contractor detailed the job and
the cost involved for its implementation. Nevertheless, to make
a change in an approved project required the fulfillment of
complex protocols, which would delay the project.
So, the project manager gave a verbal assurance and
asked the contractor to implement the change. The
contractor wanted a formal work order, as he did not want
to take the responsibility for implementing the change,
should any unwanted issue arise in the future. This created a
conflict between the project manager and the contractor.
Neither would budge from their respective stands and the
Now, since the project was halted and a loss was suffered
for the delay, the project manager asked the contractor to
reimburse the loss. The contractor refused on the grounds
that he never stopped the work and wanted to complete the
project, but without obtaining the formal written approval
for implementing the change, he could not start the work.
Thus, the contractor refused to acknowledge that he was the
cause of the loss and hence, reimbursement of the same did
not arise at all. After sometime, the project manager was able
to get all the necessary approvals for the required change.
The project manager sufficiently influenced the
higher management, to agree on removing the contractor
from the project.
The security deposit for the project as paid by the
contractor, was forfeited by the company, which the
contractor challenged in a court of law. The company
demoted the manager on grounds of inefficiency. Ultimately,
the project was completed by another contractor, at a much
higher cost to the company.
Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time: 100 Management Stories” by Rajen Jani