Deciding on Types of Contracts to Utilize for Purchases Related to a Project
Hiring technicians to install and configure the software for your environment.
As the Project Manager, I would pursue a RFP. At this point in the process, I would be requesting for competitive proposals on exactly how many technicians it will require to install and configure the proposed software (The DataWarehouse RFQ, 2008). This would give each vendor a chance to submit their best proposal for fulfilling this portion of the project, along with other portions, but would not require the RFQ because I want to gather information from vendors regarding their ‘take’ on how many and how long this portion would take.
I would already have obtained information from various companies from a previous RFI that included requests for all the information I needed in order to obtain the correct scheduling tool that would be efficient for the needs of ACME Development Corporation. This RFI would have requested information regarding the usability of the software across the US as a web based management tool, the specifics of the software tool, including its capacity to expand for use by more than 40 PMs in the future if necessary, estimated costs, examples of how the software has been used successfully elsewhere, and the RFI would specify the date our company needed the software up and running, which would indicate to the vendor the number of techs and time it would take to configure the software in order to meet our operational deadline. Use of an RFP in this situation allows me, as the PM, to see how various vendors could handle the task of installation of their product and would allow me to minimize my risk of an extended timeline for installation and configuration. I would utilize this information in a Performance Based Contract in order to minimize my risk and assure accurate and timely installation of the system (Project Management Institute 2008).
Hiring a training entity to teach the student PMs the mechanics of using the new tool.
As the PM I would issue a RFQ. At this point in the management of this project, I may be narrowing down what vendor we are choosing to purchase from and install the product from my RFPs. Therefore, I have narrowed down the possible vendors I want to deal with. Now I want to know more specifics about costs for particular aspects of the project. Part of a contract would need to include the training entity and the time constraints I would place on training, including where it would take place and what materials may be needed. I would be specific on what the needs of my company are regarding this issue, since it is key to getting the system fully functional. These specifics in my request would help to minimize risk associated with this critical portion of the project. An RFQ from each vendor would include this and possibly other aspects of the details of the projects, which may include other things such as an RFQ that contains costs for each technician and possible cost associated with time overruns with regards to training or installation. I would be specific in my request regarding these issues in order to minimize my risks with the vendor for these possible oversights and therefore allow the vendor to develop a more appropriate bid.
Buying a new server and software to run the tool and house the project database.
As PM I would issue a RFI that would contain all the specifics of my company’s needs for the server and software and what we would require from the tool. The RFI would allow me to clearly state my company’s needs and this would allow vendors to develop responses that are specific to those needs. I would include timelines, possible future needs and ask whether or not the software would be adaptable to those needs at some point. In addition, I would request information on man hours for installation, configuration, training of personnel and troubleshooting needs the vendor would supply after installation. And RFI would allow me to formulate as many questions as I can for the project and obtain responses from vendors that would allow me to start the process of selection.
Hiring tool usage experts to transfer knowledge to the student PMs about the use of the tool on the job for the first 60 days after going “live”.
Part of the information I would have already requested in the RFI; i.e. would they have this service available and for how long. However, since this is the actual hiring of those experts, we are at the stage of a RFQ in order to gather specific cost information. I would include this information in a Performance Based Contract, since it is imperative that this expert be able to meet my company’s need with accuracy and within the specified timeframe. I would include in this request specifics for results of working through bugs in the system with the various PMs and what the cost for availability of these experts would be for contract troubleshooting after the first 60 days. This would reduce my risk.
Plan for the removal and disposal of the no longer to be used scheduling tool software and hardware.
This would be part of the information gathered in the RFP, along with other information that is important for operation of the system, appropriateness for my company’s needs, training and support, timelines for installation and configuration, start up support and the removal and disposal of system, even if that is something I decide in the end we won’t be needing if I choose a vendor who has a system that can be adequately modified to meet future needs. However, this bit of information should be gathered in an RFP, since it is more specific than the kinds of information I’m requesting in an RFI.
The DataWarehouse Request for Proposal. Accessed 12/03/08.
Project Management Institute. Accessed 12/03/2008.