Understanding How This Applies to Your Next Project

This chapter is jammed with information you need to know for the exam as well as on the job. But depending on the size of your organization, many of the processes I discussed in the Executing process group might actually be handled by another department in your organization. I've worked in small companies (fewer than 100 people) and very large companies and have always had either a person or a department that was responsible for the vendor selection, contract negotiation, and contract administration. In all these situations and in my current role as project manager, I have significant input to these processes, but the person or department responsible for procurement has the ultimate control. For example, we use only RFPs (and occasionally RFIs) to solicit vendors. We typically use a weighted scoring model in combination with a screening and rating system to choose a vendor. For small projects, we have a list of prequalified vendors from which to choose.

Someone who is skilled at writing contracts can best handle the contracts, which ideally should be reviewed by the legal team. The legal team should also review changes proposed by the vendor before signing on the dotted line. Clear, concise, and specific contracts, in my experience, are a critical success factor for any project. I've too often seen contract issues bring a project to a sudden halt. Another classic contract faux pas allows the vendor to think the work is complete while the buyer believes the vendor is weeks or months away from meeting the requirements. These types of disputes can almost always be traced back to an unclear, imprecise contract. It's important to be specific in your statement of work. Make sure that the project requirements are clear and broken down far enough to be measurable and that deliverables are defined with criteria that allow you to inspect for contract compliance prior to final acceptance.

I'll emphasize one last time the importance of communication, good communication skills, and getting that information into the appropriate hands at the right time. Enough said.

Managing your stakeholder's expectations is as important as managing the project team. Stakeholders need plenty of communication, and issues need to be discussed and resolutions agreed upon. Remember the old adage that most people need to hear the same information six times before it registers with them. Stakeholders, understandably, are notorious for hearing what they want to hear. Here's an example: If I asked you to picture an elephant, you would likely picture an elephant in your mind. It might be live or the stuffed variety and it could be gray, brown, or pink, but you'd clearly understand the concept. Elephant is a word that's pretty hard to misinterpret. But what if I asked you to picture a three-bedroom house? There's lots of room for interpretation there. When I said three-bedroom house, I meant ranch style with the master on one end of the house and the other two bedrooms at the other end of the house. What did you picture? Make certain you're using language your stakeholders understand, and repeat it often until you're certain they get it.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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