A Comparison and Contrast Between Contract Management and Project Management (Part 2)

Steve is the founder and president of Contract Management Solutions Group (Products & Services Group, and Education Group). He is a published author and educator on integrating project management discipline into contract management.

In Part 1 of this article, we reviewed the types of contracts, the CM methodology, profession and associations, and the role of the contract manager. Now we’ll review CM’s control tools, best practices, key success factors and the causes of failed contracts. Hopefully, this article and upcoming webinar will provide food for thought on how you can apply one or more of these to your PM role, organization or project.

Below are some common contract management processes and tools and the areas where they’re used. Take a moment to compare the PM processes and tools you use in the areas of scope, schedule, performance and quality.

As with projects, contracts are also subject to change. There are basically two types of changes, editorial and material. Editorial changes are to clean up errors and omissions or to correct terms and definitions in the original contract documents. “Material” changes are changes to the scope, schedule or budget of the contract; for example, the buyer wants to order additional products or services (more of the same), or new products and services that requires analysis, pricing and approval.

A material change generally impacts one or more of the primary constraints, so it’s imperative to properly manage changes from contract startup through to completion. Below are some other processes and tools the contract manager…

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"Impartial observers from other planets would consider ours an utterly bizarre enclave if it were populated by birds, defined as flying animals, that nevertheless rarely or never actually flew. They would also be perplexed if they encountered in our seas, lakes, rivers and ponds, creatures defined as swimmers that never did any swimming. But they would be even more surprised to encounter a species defined as a thinking animal if, in fact, the creature very rarely indulged in actual thinking."

- Steve Allen