Whether your procurement team manages the contracts once executed, or whether there is a ‘cold hand-off’ to the business clients to manage, this is one area of the procurement and contract management cycle that is particularly challenging for organizations across the board. And yet it is of critical importance to not only being able to demonstrate that you have received value for money, but to maximizing the opportunity for continuous improvement – both for your contractors and your internal teams.

So why is it so challenging? Why is the contract management function so often the focus of audit reports and lawsuits? In our role as educators in the field, we see two main reasons for this:

  1. In many ways, contract management is an invisible function. No one really hears about it until something goes terribly wrong, so it receives little attention and resource allocation. Unlike careful drafting of the RFx documents, contract management is often done off the side of someone’s desk, along with a myriad of other complex and time-consuming activities.
  2. There is a weakness in either the performance management tools included in the contract, or in the skill set of staff tasked with this role. And one without the other is not enough. As we say in our training, the best contract management and conflict resolution skills do no good if the contract is vague and full of holes, yet the best contract in the world does no good if it sits on the shelf gathering dust.

In all of our courses on this subject, learners actually practice drafting a comprehensive performance management framework which incorporates specific, measurable outcomes-based standards coupled with appropriate remedies that give staff the tools they need to keep performance on track and to build a more positive working relationships with contractors and suppliers.

A second major piece in these courses is exploring our own dominant conflict style, learning about ways to expand our repertoire to better match the style of others, and working on building interest-based negotiation skills through hands-on activities and exercises.

Managing and Evaluating Contract Performance is a one day classroom course designed for in-house delivery to a dedicated cohort of 15 or more.

Our eSeminar Managing Contract Performance explores these key concepts in a condensed 1.5 hour online instructor-led format. It is available for in-house delivery, and is a great springboard for more in-depth internal discussions around this important area of procurement and contracting.

PSPP 203: Managing and Evaluation is a two day course available both in the classroom and online over four weeks. A cross-Canada online cohort is starting April 9th and there are still a few spots, so let us know if you’d like to join us.

Contact us today to explore training options that enable you to take a pro-active approach to this common challenge area for staff, before becoming the next lightning rod for audits, vendor challenges and the damaged supplier relationships and staff morale that comes along with such scrutiny.

Readers are cautioned not to rely upon this article as legal advice nor as an exhaustive discussion of the topic or case.  For any particular legal problem, seek advice directly from your lawyer or in-house counsel.  All dates, contact information and website addresses were current at the time of original publication.