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The Project Startup and Project Contract III (Practical Project Management Series)

The Project Startup and Project Contract III (Practical Project Management Series). This time the third part about the project start up is being discussed and in particular on the analysis of a contract.

For you as a Project Manager at least the following contract items are of interest:

1. Is the contract signed by all parties? In case of doubt please contact the person who is commercially responsible of the supplier you are working for. This can e.g. an Account Manger of Project Executive. No signed contract means no project start. Request a confirmation by e-mail of the responsible Account Manager or Project Executive and save this in your project file in case you must start and escalate through the appropriate channel.

2. What does the ‘ business case ‘ look like:

  • What is the reason for this project?
  • What are the project objectives?
  • What are the restrictions?
  • What is within the scope and what is outside the scope?
  • What are the dependencies which lie outside your ‘span of control’?

3. Then you spend attention to what should be delivered:

  • What are the requirements and how clear are these? When the requirements are insufficiently SMART then alarm bells must be ringing. This is one of your high priorities.
  • What should be delivered exactly? This should also be very SMART. If not then alarm bells again and put this item on your high priorities list.
  • What are the milestones and what dates are linked to these milestones?

4. In the solution design look for the following items:

  • Can you see the link between the requirements and the design?
  • Search for dependencies in particular to matters that can consume a lot of lead time. Think eg. about hardware supply and the delivery of data communication lines lead times.
  • Are third parties involved in deliveries? If so, what has been agreed regarding contact and delivery with these parties.
  • What are the dependencies which lie outside your ‘ span of control ‘?

5. Who owns the hardware and software licenses to be used? Pay particular attention to software licences while these must often be purchased by the end user and cannot by forwarded to the client by the supplier.

6. Is an initial risk analysis included in the contract? If not then look in the ‘business case’. Review this with your your knowledge and experience. This is input to your risk analysis in your project plan.

7. Has the subject ‘ data security ‘ and ‘ privacy ‘ been discussed in the contract? Do you have to deal with ‘sensitive personal information’? If so, then special action required. This is beyond the scope of this article.

8. Is the project executed from one country or several countries? Working with people from countries within the European Union, especially from a legal point of view, is much simpler than when people in the team operate from countries outside the European Union such as India and the United States. However, in all cases, international contract specialists need to be involved.

The next time I will proceed with communication Management.

This is a blog article of Lex van der Heijden on practical Project Management. For questions / comments I can be reached via [email protected] and LinkedIn