Following the monthly team meeting (Rochelle made a slice), Jenny pulled Terry (the CFO) aside and explained that if something didn’t change, she would be forced to consider a role offered to her back in the private sector. Terry knew what Jenny meant and knew she was serious about leaving; he also knew Jenny’s value, so he committed to assisting her strategy.
Taking steps forward
A month later, Terry was excited to tell Jenny that the council had just purchased a license to a Contract Management System and that this would solve most of the council’s issues and appease Jenny at the same time! He explained that the Infrastructure team had built the scope, evaluated some quotes, and signed the contract last week. The system owner would have it implemented before the end of the financial year to spend their budget within the year.
Jenny’s rage could barely be contained.
“What do you mean?! Why wasn’t I (or anyone else) consulted before committing to any systems?” she said.
Jenny explained that what might be good for one department (such as the Engineers and the Infrastructure team) may not be suitable for other departments. Terry went on to explain, “No need to worry; the system is very expensive and has ALL the features we could ever need – it has everything!”
However, as Jenny had predicted, the system was successfully implemented… and then it ended up as an expensive icon on the desktop that no one used. It was overly complicated and failed to meet the needs of all stakeholders. Despite some end-user training, no one accepted or wanted the over-engineered, incredibly complicated system.
The result of Jenny’s story
What is the cost of doing nothing?
- Have we ever experienced supplier additional cost due to variations, delays, safety incidents, or supplier non-performance on a project?
- Are we prepared and equipped to manage a dispute resolution or litigation process due to a supplier’s non-performance or breach of contract?
- How well do we know suppliers, and are we confident that they won’t cause reputation damage to our council?
- What value may be captured through a pragmatic approach to contract management?
- Do we have a culture that embraces technology and continuous improvement?
- Do we get a contract management specification from another council, or do we build our own list of requirements?
- Have we considered this as a change management project, a technical implementation, or both?
- Do we get caught evaluating meaningless metrics like how many buttons each system has, or do we focus on authentic business needs and council outcomes?
- Have we consulted our suppliers and contractors?