From Prior Posts in This Blog Series…
In parts 1 and 2, I introduced the complexity topic, provided some sample online definitions and discussed sources. I provided a case study showing several significant challenges that were the result of lack of deep planning before the project began executing.
Most recently, Part 3 discussed two situations, one about embracing change management and the other about finding mandatory administrative processes. In this final situation, I’ll discuss vendor governance and configuration. This again relates to the same case study.
Our program objective was to improve compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) regulations for a global safety / science company through process changes and new technology. Two third-party integration partners were involved to connect the new technology solution to at least five existing, inhouse systems. I’ll call partners “A” and “B” for this discussion.
Facts and symptoms discovery inventory
Start Up Activities
We all had new relationships, different cultures, and different project methods. The approach to build the team and get us working productively quickly included reviewing and negotiating how we would co-manage and set up the project. We took on these planning items at the start of the project:
Vendor governance and configuration was as much about building relationships and trust as it was setting up efficient and functional infrastructure. In a lot of ways these were administration and planning tasks. However, they were critical to avoiding conflicts and issues, and needed to be agreed and implemented as quickly as possible so not to delay the project execution. There were conflicts with the aggressive schedule expected by the vendors because it did not take this effort into account and was not fully assessed by the affected business teams.
The planning tasks were completed in the first month of the project. Adjustments were made along the way as we ran into items we did not think of initially, but in general we had a working infrastructure.
Conclusions / Wrap-Up
In retrospect, expectations of effort and scope to build vendor governance and configuration were underestimated. Additionally, the expectation that third-party B could be kept at arms-length and all interactions made through A, was unrealistic. Third-Party A did not have the expertise with the software solution yet many discussions on feature, function and capability were required throughout. We ended up interacting quite a bit with both vendors.
A pre-project planning stage environmental and impact assessment would have helped to identify these governance and configuration items. They would have allowed us to properly build-in the effort required and better set expectations with leadership. This should have been accommodated in the initial schedule.
How do you plan for and set up vendor governance on projects with multiple third-parties involved? Thoughts and comments on this post are invited and always welcome.
This is the final installment of this series but expect more future posts about complexity.
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