In many projects use of external resources is part of the scope, Project Manager is dependent on the performance of the contractor and needs to have someone that they feel that they can trust and work well with.
When a project manger is selecting and dealing with contractors, it is them worth trying to understand the contractors motivations and the world they inhabit:
- They usually just want a “fair deal”
- They are often professionals with a pride in their skills
- What they really do not want is a lot of hassle and disagreements. They just want to get on with the job.
- They want the project to be a success and for you to be delighted with what they have done
- They want their reputation enhanced so that they can get referrals or repeat business (which is where most of their new work comes from)
- What they want from clients is someone who is fair, organised, committed, and straight.
Important steps on evolving contractors relationship into partnerships.
Cleary Define the deliverables/needs
- It can really save both the Project Manager and the contractor and enormous amount of time later if this is done well. On the other hand, if done badly it can waste enormous time and effort.
Go to Tender
- If your tender is likely to attract a lot of interest, it might be sensible to first advertise for “Expression of Interest”. In this, a brief outline of the contract is advertised and contractors are asked to write a short application to be asked to tender for the work. Usually they are asked to complete a short form describing experience in the field.
- The next stage would be to send those shortlisted an “Invitation to Tender” with a fuller description of the work to be contracted. It is important to be specific and coherent about the work to be contracted, and it is sensible to include a specification of the contents and general layout of the tenders to be submitted.
- The tenders will arrive by a certain date and will often then be judged by a group of people – probably including one person with formal contract skills.
- The best way of making a selection is to use a “rating and ranking” process. In this, a set of weighted criteria are established before the tenders are opened (e.g. track record 80 points, price 50 points, etc.) and each member of the group reads each tender and scores them for the various criteria.
Post Award of Contract
- After “Award of Contract”, the Project Manager and the contractor need now to develop a real working relationship.
- Having selected the contractor, a contact needs to be drawn-up. This is the Project Manager’s last opportunity to influence the formal relationship with the contractor. It is important to think ahead and to try to get arrangements in place to enable a good working relationship.
- Include in this what you want from the contractor in terms of project management. Items such as project reporting, meetings, the contractor producing a Project Plan.
Step 5 Monitoring Progress
- The reality is that few contracts progress without some difficulties. Build into the contract mechanisms for monitoring progress.