ChPP candidates must be able to demonstrate experience that satisfies the specific Professional Practice assessment criteria. They will also at interview need to demonstrate their advanced Technical Knowledge and understanding against the stated Technical Knowledge assessment criteria. Here we look at ChPP Elective Competence 15: Contact Management.
Aspiring Chartered Project Professionals who do not already hold a recognised assessment for professional practice must be able to show that their experience satisfies the specific Professional Practice Assessment Criteria with a written submission. As part of this they will also need to show competence in twelve competence areas. Ten of these are mandatory and two are selected from a selection of 14 Elective Competencies. The one we are looking at here is ChPP Elective Competence 15: Contract Management
Introduction to the Contract Management competence
From the APM Competence Framework Capability Development is:
“The ability to agree contracts for the provision of goods and/or services, to monitor compliance, and to manage variances. Proactive contract management is essential to ensure that agreed goods and/or services are delivered on time and within budget, to address problems without delay, and to maintain productive working relationships with internal and/or external suppliers.”
Choosing this competence as part of a ChPP application will appeal more to the day to day project managers, those who are actively engaged in manging contracts on a day to day basis. This is not to say that any applicant can use it, but it is probably more relevant to those in a solid delivery role. It is quite closely connected to the competence of Procurement but is distinct from it. Procurement is the activities leading up to the contract, Contract Management can be considered as the activities once the contract has been let.
What needs to be demonstrated for ChPP?
The APM have helpfully split this important subject into a set of key criteria that must be demonstrated. And these are as follows, not forgetting that you only need to demonstrate four of them: –
PP1.1 effectively monitor supplier performance against agreed contractual obligations
PP1.2 ensure the organisation meets its contractual obligations through effective monitoring
Ok, I am going to admit that I cannot understand why these two are separate. I would humbly suggest that an applicant can address both in one well crafted paragraph. PP1.1. is on about how you (the applicant) is monitoring performance of a contractor against the stated KPI’s in the contract. The contract will stipulate the things a supplier (and the client) will need to do to fulfil their obligations. This might include delivering a stated set of products (usually described in the specification) on a certain date. If they do not, then there is an implied breach of those terms.
So, it is important for the PM to show how they have been able to monitor that contract on an on-going basis to pre-empt any issues arising. The applicant will need to show what KPI’s they were monitoring, such as, the rate of delivery, the invoicing accuracy, the number of defects, etc. They may also be measuring things like earned value CPI and SPI. This would be supplemented through regular contract and progress meetings, both formal and informal.
PP2.1 respond appropriately to ensure all parties comply with the terms of a contract
This is an area that will require the applicant to demonstrate how they were making adjustments to accommodate any deviation from the anticipated trajectory of how things are (or are not proceeding). What did YOU do to resolve any lingering issues? Perhaps there is a chronic lateness of deliveries perhaps, how did you resolve it? How did you RESPOND? It also says ALL Parties, it might just be also worth considering what your organisation was doing that may have had a bearing in what was going on and how that was included.
PP2.2 manage contract variances promptly to resolve any contractual problems
Variances imply the use of change control. Therefore, the applicant will need to show how they took on board variances, processed them and ensured that they were progressed in a timely manner to pre-empt any issues that might arise. What might these be? Perhaps the contract needs to be changed to increase the rate of deliveries, this needs to be processed agreed and implemented swiftly so that the contractor can be geared up ready to respond before its too late.
PP2.3 effectively manage supplier relationships
This will need to show that not only was the contract being managed but also that the relationship was not damaged. It is important to maintain cordial relationships, to retain a semblance of professionalism and decorum. Both sides have a responsibility to do this, and it requires a certain approach. It must not get in the way of proper record keeping and notices though as if the going gets really tough, there will be a need of evidence.
PP2.4 effectively close a contract once all contractual obligations have been met
So at the successful conclusion of the contract the applicant will need to demonstrate the formal closure of the contract, production of a completion certificate and perhaps lessons learned reports. YOU also need to show how the formality was dealt with, particularly things like acceptance certificates.
What does a good submission look like?
Project x: In my PMP I stipulated a regular contract management cycle of reports and meetings. I chaired fortnightly meetings with the suppliers’ contract manager and reviewed progress against delivery quantities, quality problems and variations. These were key areas of the contract I had specified during the procurement cycle. On occasions, because the supply of the steelwork particularly was critical, and where the supplier had fallen behind, I needed to send out default notices so that they were clear that this would cause us a problem if it continued.
This had the effect of me reminding the supplier of the importance of these deliveries particularly and generally had the desired effect or getting the deliveries back on track. In these discussions it become apparent that there were instances where we had been unable to receipt the deliveries for one reason or another and I had to go back to my team and make sure that our processes were altered to streamline the goods received processes.
I considered it important to maintain good working relationships with suppliers. I kept this on a strictly professional level, but I was still able to convene a less regular ‘away day’ where the two teams were brought together with a formal agenda to discuss progress. The informal social contact and team lunch that went alongside this helped build bonds between my team and the various suppliers. It made a lot of sense to me for people to get to know each other a bit better.
212 words – WARNING – I am not suggesting that this would be successful, I am not the assessor who will be assessing it, but I wouldn’t mind betting it has a strong chance of being suitable.
Please remember for ChPP Elective Competence 15 – What YOU did, lots of I, me, and my.