In this series of articles we’re discussing a simple approach for managing projects – the ten D’s of project management. So far we’ve covered Definition, Detail, Dependencies, Duties, Dates, Dangers, and Documents. Now it’s time to discuss project Deals – what do you need to buy, and how are you going to buy it.
In the Definition post we discussed the need to ask key questions before diving into detailed planning, and we used an everyday example of planning a meal/party. In the Details post we created a hierarchy of work to be done, and in the Dependencies post we sequenced the work using a network diagram (flowchart). Duties was about assigning people to tasks we’d identified in the Details step, Dates calculated an estimated schedule for the project, and Dangers addressed things might might go wrong.
We know we need “things” for the meal/party such as invites and decorations, but should we make them, or buy them? Making them might be cheaper, but buying them will probably be quicker – but maybe not, if we decide we need custom printed invites. We need to put some effort into planning our purchases/project Deals taking into account the time and money available, and to document our thoughts in a procurement plan.
Not only do we need to decide what we need to purchase, we need to decide how to structure our Deals – particularly when it comes to buying services. For example, we may decide to hire a chef for our special event, and there are various ways we might structure our agreement with the chef. Here are a few of the options:
- Create a detailed menu, and ask a number of chefs to quote a fixed price for their services/food. We select the chef who seems like the best value.
- Review the qualifications of local chefs and hire one that seems most suitable. We cover the chef’s costs during the project, plan a menu with the chef, buy the groceries for the chef to prepare, and pay the chef a final fee (profit) when the party is over.
- Create a menu, purchase the groceries, and hire a local chef by the hour to prepare the meal to our requirements.
Each option brings different things to the table (pun intended) in terms of cost, control of menu options, effort involved etc. The most appropriate approach will depend on the priorities of the people involved. Since some options impact project budget, cost, risk etc. in significant ways, project Deals/procurement is something to discuss early in project planning, before plans/schedules are finalized.
In the next post we’ll look at the ninth D after project Definition, Detail, Dependencies, Duties, Dates, Dangers, Documents, and Deals, and that’s Dollars.