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Ten Proven Principles of Vendor Management

The following ten fundamental principles will guide our efforts in managing vendor relationships.

  1. Solid project management goes along way Outsourced projects place more importance on the project management fundamentals we have reviewed throughout this book. While you may be able to "get by" with less on internal projects, outsourced projects bring a visibility and accountability (both financially and legally) that make solid project management and leadership a requirement to make the relationship work. In particular, these aspects of project management become essential:

    The principles and techniques in managing virtual and cross-cultural teams in Chapter 20, "Managing Differences," are valuable in outsourced project arrangements.

     
    • Well-defined and properly planned project
    • Effective project sponsorship
    • Buy-in and commitment on success criteria
    • Well-managed expectations
    • Clear roles and responsibilities
    • Effective communications
    • Formal change control management
    • Effective issue management
  2. Vendor management is multi-faceted Effective vendor management has four distinct elements that need attention:

    • Evaluation and selection
    • Contract development
    • Relationship management
    • Delivery management

    Just because procurement and vendor management require formal communications and processes, it does not mean that only formal communication methods are used. In fact, the formal communications should just follow (and document) what has already been discussed and agreed to.

     
  3. "See" the contract, "be" the contract Borrowing an expression from the sports world, you need to be fully aware of what the contract states. Ideally, you are involved in the development of the contract, or at the very least, the project definition document that is referenced by the contract. In either case, you need to have full knowledge of what the contract states for three basic reasons:

    • Ensure you are clearly understand what the vendor is responsible for
    • Ensure you are managing the project and vendor consistent with the contract
    • Need to understand what incentives are motivating your seller
  4. Formality rules Due to the legal implications of the work relationship, all changes must be in writing and formally controlled, no matter who originates the change. In addition, all project communications dealing with procurement management should always be formal and written.
  5. Contract complexity should be consistent with project risk Both the procurement process and the level of contract detail should be consistent with project risk. The same due diligence process that is needed for multi-million dollar project should not be used for a $50,000 project.
  6. If it is important, put it in Any aspect of an outsourced project that is important to either party should be in the contract. This includes, but is not limited to, deliverable specifications, the methodology used to create the deliverable, specific resources, roles and responsibilities, planned communications, deliverable acceptance criteria, and project success criteria. Do not rely on assumptions.
  7. Management commitment is key Partnerships between organizations are the result of demonstrated management commitment. More important than what the contract says or doesn't say, the commitment level and flexibility demonstrated by senior management (from each party) to make the relationship work will be the determining factor.

    In many organizations, a natural conflict exists between the contract administrator and the project manager. There are three reasons for this:

    • The contract administrator is the only one authorized to change the contract.
    • The contract includes or references the project definition document and/or project plan.
    • The project manager owns and manages the project definition document and project plan.
     
  8. Focus on "win-win" This principle will be a cultural shock to many organizations, but both parties should focus on building win-win relationships throughout the project. When issues and tensions occur (and they will), actions should be focused on mutually beneficial resolutions and on easing tensionsnot escalation and provocation.
  9. Clarify terms and processes Take the time to review, explain, and clarify all terms and processes involved in the project. More conflicts results from misunderstandings than anything else.
  10. Clarify internal roles and responsibilities Make sure to clarify the roles and responsibilities for the procurement (purchasing) department versus the project team, especially between the contract administrator and the project manager. Conversely, the seller project manager needs to clarify his role and responsibilities in this arrangement with his/her sales, accounting and legal departments.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project





Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
EAN: N/A
Year: 2006
Pages: 169
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