SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT
One issue that is becoming harder to manage with today’s digital communications is the single point of contact.
For most contracts between a client and a subcontractor there is a named relationship within the contract. What happens during the contract execution is this relationship gets blurred.
With modern communications everything can be sent to everyone, with everyone cc’d in on an email, whether relevant to the communication or not. Some people are annoyed by this… this leads people to limit their correspondence to direct communication, thinking they are sparing others what annoys them. This is fine within an organisation, but as soon as that happens externally, then control over the message starts to slip. Things that are urgent, lose their urgency when people don’t understand their overall role in a project and what is critical or not. Similarly, they fail to react to a request, when bombarded with emails from everyone about everything.
Why should we insist on a single point?
The single point of contact is probably the only individual who understands how all the strands of a project tie together. If you are a client, ideally, you want to speak to the person who knows what is going on, who understands the issues and don’t want to be bombarded with every Tom, Dick or Harriet asking some minor question…which has probably been answered already. If you are a subcontractor, you need to ensure that your communications are on message and don’t give conflicting or confusing information to the client.
By all means, communicate person to person (both internally and externally), but keep the point of contacts in the loop!
When it gets to site.
On site there are too many things happening to allow a loss of control. The ability to channel everything through a single point of contact facilitates focus and direction. It limits risk, as people might be told by others, to do something which conflicts with the overall plan. If they act on that request, they could be exposing themselves, their colleagues and the project or business to risk.