Managing the Contract

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In some organizations, there are dedicated procurement departments with resources who can be assigned to individual projects to help manage the contract and free the project manager up to focus on the important stuff for them--deliverables, dependencies, deadlines, etc. No really! In some organizations those departments actually exist. (Honestly, they do!)

Okay, so I’m being somewhat flippant, but we all know that a dedicated procurement resource on a project is a luxury that few of us ever get to experience--and it’s certainly not the norm. On every other project we are expected to manage the contract in addition to our other project management responsibilities. This always struck me as rather odd. Organizations invest a lot of time and effort into negotiating the perfect contract and then put the administration of that contract into the hands of a project manager who probably doesn’t have much contract experience. In one brief article, I’m not going to cover every aspect of contracts--but perhaps we can look at a few basic concepts that will help PMs avoid some of the biggest pitfalls (if not make them contract experts).

Managing and administering the contract-implementing SOW
Let’s start by setting some parameters around what we mean by contract management and administration. For the purposes of this article I’m going to …

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