Work on bugs: how can a business get a good product by working with contractors
Inspections of the security service, analysis of contracts and amendments to lawyers suddenly make a ruthless bureaucratic machine out of the procurement department. The initial application undergoes a lot of adjustments, overgrows with a heap of documentation, for which the terms of reference along with the project are lost.
The decision to choose a contractor is often transferred to the procurement department, and the internal customer does not participate in communication with the contractor. This negatively affects the final result. Over 6 years of work under 223-FZ, we at AGIMA have identified 9 types of customer errors that can be avoided.
The main criteria for the purchasing department are the cost and correctly executed documents. Contractors who do not demonstrate strengths and attractive prices lose, such situations often occur in large tenders. In turn, customers neglect meetings with contractors, are not interested in which specialists work for the contractor in the office.
A quality project goes far beyond well-formed documentation. To make the product the way it was originally conceived, it is important to take into account the competencies of the contractor and relevant experience.
A trip to the performer’s office is a chance to make sure there is a real team that will work on the project. Fix the composition of the participants in the working group and appoint a manager – it will be he who will interact with the customer. If in the course of work managers or technical specialists with relevant experience have transferred to other companies, make sure that the necessary expertise remains within the team, for example, you can hold a meeting in the agency’s office.
3. The lack of a “driver”
There should be two responsible managers: on the side of the contractor and the client. In fact, it often happens differently: an ordinary employee is loaded with additional work, which he performs in the background. He does not delve deeply into the essence of the tasks, does not formulate clear requirements and does not control their implementation. The main service tasks and an eight-hour working day in no way contribute to immersion in the project.
By appointing a responsible manager, the customer receives drivers who are interested in the final result. The driver will take care of organizing the meetings of the working group, updating plans, clarifying possible restrictions, and so on. The responsible manager knows from within the advantages of the product, and therefore will be able to correctly present the work of the contractor during acceptance and approval.
4. Budgets and timelines
If the customer has not launched similar projects, there may be difficulties in setting the deadlines and budget. Even if the contractor has relevant experience, the client must analyze it and request the stages and cost of such projects. Having such data, the customer will formulate the budget and terms of his project, fix the start dates and set the time for settlement of formalities upon agreement.
5. Misunderstanding of the project infrastructure
Already at the design stage, the customer must understand the potential limitations and difficulties. Will there be resources to maintain the finished functionality, is there time for pauses in coordination. Discuss everything that pauses work.
Often customers want to “like company N”. However, what resources the company N allocates for its project is not known to the client. It is important to understand what resources the customer has and, based on this, plan the content. The real functionality of the project is clear at the design stage. If the customer confirms that the design does not imply additional functionality, the risk is excluded.
To manage expectations, they lay time for interviews with internal performers. Communication with third parties involved in the project will help in finding a successful solution to many issues.
6. Communication channels
While working on a project, a customer manager shares ideas, edits, and new introductory notes. Skype, messages in instant messengers, phone calls are used. There is a chaotic pile of unrelated ideas and tasks that the performer is difficult to understand. As a result – misunderstanding at different stages of the project, even worse – the customer does not receive the product that he originally wanted.
A detailed e-mail will help to structure the flow of consciousness, and you can track the completion of tasks and their status in the task tracker. This saves a lot of time and effort on both sides, and also helps to systematize and record all stages of the project.
Customers often underestimate the importance of choosing a responsible manager. This person should have his competent opinion, be prepared to delve into the essence of the project and work effectively with contractor managers. If there is no such person, a dozen persons appear participating in the coordination, starting with the head of the manager and ending with the first persons.