Not Waving But Drowning

Stevie Smith wrote an iconic poem about someone, “not waving, but drowning”.
Not Waving But Drowning

If you’ve read previous blasts from me, you’ll know that:

Our aim is for you not only to survive but to THRIVE.​

One of the things getting in the way of this is the dreaded scope creep, which is discussed in this video.​

You can check it out, or continue reading for the quick capsule review.

Scope creep can become a big problem.

I know because I’ve worked on a lot of claims.

It’s important to note, that when it comes to claims one thing is for sure – the incident surrounding the claim has already happened.

So if you are already in trouble, or you’ve done the wrong thing, you can’t re-write what’s happened.

In layman’s terms, “you can’t polish a turd”.

Of course, you can hire claims people to try to get you out of it, but at the end of the day, you’re pushing a rock up a hill.

But there are ways to make it easier.

A couple of years ago I worked on an oil and gas project in Western Australia.

  • The company did a really good job, so they got additional work.
  • The additional work meant it looked as if they weren’t showing much progress on the original scope.
  • So it looked like they were late on the schedule.
  • Things turned nasty quickly because the client pointed out that progress on the original scope was slow.
  • The accusation was that they didn’t comply with the original contract.
  • The contract stated the client needed to be notified every time there was a variation or delay.

​The subcontractor assumed they were going to get paid for additional work etc. and they didn’t. It cost them a fortune in claims to try and recoup some money. The moral?

You can look at scope creep in two ways.

  1. It runs away from you and you can end up being taken advantage of. You can be hit with liquidated damages and the client could get you to work for free.
  2. One of my mentors years ago, a CEO of a huge mechanical engineering company, told me that their strategy was to underbid to win the work because they were so confident that in the back end they made most of their money in variations. That’s their business model. But it relies on EXCELLENT contracts.


  1. Do additional work but make sure that you stay ahead of your paperwork and contractual obligations.
  2. Get variations approved.
  3. Make sure that changes to the original scope are documented and approved.

We can help you with all of this and more. You shouldn’t be drowning in the murky water of contracts.

We can clear the water and help you sign SUBSTANTIALLY LESS RISKY CONTRACTS.


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