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Responding To Requests For Advice

February 16, 2011

Many Contracts, Legal and Procurement professionals face the challenge of early involvement. If only people sought our advice sooner, we could add so much more value.

The issue is of course about more than timing. It is also about the quality and depth of involvement and how much time our ‘client’ will allow us, and how much we will allocate. Part of the solution (in my opinion) is that we need to raise the undersatanding and awareness of our clients in respect of what we do and how it can contribute to their success. We also need to increase their awareness of the right questions to be asking,  and the types of information we will need in order to offer an intelligent and helpful response.

I came across an example this morning, when the following queston arrived in my e-mail.

I have been in communication with a friend who has some questions regarding (major project) contracts. I am writing to inquire if you have any data or advice regarding any of the items in the list below, to assist in developing the contract or advancing negotiations.  

General areas of interest include:

  1. Basis of Payment, incentivised payments with KPIs 
  2. Negotiations with prime contractors 
  3. Contractual clauses used 
  4. Cost estimating for design/build/testing 
  5. Overall processes employed — design – build – test – acceptance 
  6. Into-service transitioning & contract structures 

Is that list long enough?!!

 At ths point, I do not plan to share my reply because I am hoping you might comment with your ideas. I am sure many of you have had similar requests from business units or project managers. How do you ‘hook’ them into doing the right thing, rather than scare them away with the wrong reply, or a reply that is too late? And what is that reply – what advice should we be offering in response to question like this? (In this particular case, it is interesting that the project manager feels the need to step outside her own organization to get answers, rather than using the internal Procurement and Contract Management resources.) 

Tomorrow, I will share what I said in response – and maybe by then I will also know how my reply was received! Meantime, what would you do?

  1. Melinda Seifert permalink

    I would also add Obligation Tracking.

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  1. Responding to Requests For Advice – Part II « Commitment Matters

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