Monthly Archives: September 2021

Contingencies are not a soft option!

Knowing what a project is really likely to cost is important from every perspective: personal, professional, and organizational. But developing a realistic and achievable cost estimate has two components: first you develop an accurate baseline estimate, then you need to develop a realistic contingency.  Most people do step one, very few people even think of step two.

This article focuses on the importance of adequate contingencies and reserves in delivering a successful project:

The Real Estimating Challenge is not calculating the price!

Calculating an accurate cost estimate is the easy bit. Having the estimate accepted by either a client, or your management, or both, and then delivering your project on budget is far more difficult.

Our latest article looks at the challenges of selling a realistic and achievable cost estimate to managers and clients. It’s probably one of your most important skills:

For more on cost management see:

Scot-free & Lots

Anyone owning a unit in a strata title development in Australia and many other parts of the world will be familiar with the concept of ‘Lot Entitlements’ which set the share of corporate/common fees paid by each unit owner and their voting rights in the owners’ corporation.

Similarly, most English-speaking people will be aware of the expression she got off ‘scot-free’ meaning the person was released without receiving the deserved or expected punishment. Other similar meanings of scot-free are: without being harmed (possibly derived from a passage in Shakespeare’s Macbeth), or without paying their dues.  But where do these strange terms originate?

The term scot-free has nothing to do with Scotland. The word ‘skot’ is Old Norse for a payment or tax. It came into Middle English as ‘bescot’, referring specifically to a customary tax paid to a lord, bailiff, or sheriff, and into modern English as ‘scot’. Therefore, scot-free literally means exempt from tax; it has since been broadened to indicate ‘exempt from punishment’. In a Viking settlement, some people through privilege or service were ‘skot-free’ and did not pay taxes.

The flip side of some people being ‘scot-free’ was the need for the rest to pay their share of the taxes! To manage the different amounts people had to pay, the overall tax for the community was divided into ‘lots’ and then each taxpayer had to pay their lot.  Fast forward 1500 years and our share of the annual corporate fees for the building we live in is based on out ‘lot entitlements’ and there is no way we can get off scot-free……

For more on project management ad allied history see: