This is part two of contract hand over for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. In this training will be discussing the internal handover as a process to ensure your project management staff have everything they need to take the project forward and execute it successfully.In my experience, the handover of a contract really begins at the notification of award. As soon as you learn from a client that you been selected for a piece of work, the business development staff responsible for tracking the award should notify all key staff and partners to let them know that things are moving forward. If you are growing rapidly, or already do a significant amount of business in your practice, it’s probably a good idea to include your project management in your business development meetings on a regular basis so that they are already aware of what is potentially coming down the pipe.
A key decision you’ll need to make in your practice or in your company relates to who negotiates both the substance and the legalese of the contract received by your client. If you’ve chosen, as we have over at ISG, to have your business development staff negotiate your contracts, you want to make sure that your team really works seamlessly, has great working relationships and similar mindsets when it comes to expectations for delivering work. When your business development team is responsible for negotiating a contract, true handover happens at the contract execution stage. You may choose, however, for your project management team to negotiate the contract. While this releases your business development team earlier in the process and goes a step further to ensuring total ownership of the project by your management staff, it also requires quite a bit more “upfront” work to make sure that your management staff has all of the information they need to be prepared for a successful negotiation with your client. Both of these choices have pros and cons to them, and you’ll just need to make the decision what works best for your practice or your company. Keep in mind, that once you’ve made a decision about how to proceed, turn it into a systematic process so that you can learn from your mistakes and continue to refine your process.
The critical “must do” for every internal handover is the handover meeting. A classic mistake that I’ve seen over and over again over the past decade is what I call “handover on the run.” This encapsulates a wide variety of sloppy handovers where projects are passed from one team to another simply via email, or brief conversations in a hallway. The defining factor of a sloppy handover is the trickle, or handover in parts and pieces. I strongly urge you to avoid this trap.
The handover meeting should be a single event where responsibility for the project is clearly passed from one team to another. You should have as many key staff – from both business development and project management – involved as possible, and it’s a good idea to get your key partners and technical consultants involved as well. For the agenda of the meeting you need to include the entire universe of the project to date, and it’s my recommendation that someone is chosen from the business development staff to formally present the arc of the process. First start with the tender that was released by the client and review the general substance and problem to be addressed. Make sure that you review any questions and answers that were part of the tendering process, and then give a detailed presentation of the proposal that was submitted to the client for consideration. Depending upon when this handover meeting happens, you want to present the most up-to-date proposal in case it has received any adjustments after negotiating substance with the client. As a part of the proposal presentation, you want to make sure to discuss staffing and partners associated with the project, especially their key roles and responsibilities. You also want to review the proposed work plan, and highlight key milestones and deliverables expected throughout the program. It’s also important to have a detailed review of the program budget and how the budget links to the technical solution, staffing and other pieces in the proposal. Finally, discuss any particular nuances or peculiarities with the project. For example, over at ISG it’s not uncommon for the donor to begin having side conversations with our business development staff after award notice has been given. In these cases you may discover that there’s an urgent meeting to attend at the very beginning of the project, or that there is a third-party stakeholder who has an important stake in the outcome of the project. My point here is that it’s important to also hand over these conversations so that the project management team is fully informed.
If done correctly, at the end of a successful internal handover meeting, the project management team is fully empowered and has literally “taken the reins” of the project from the business development staff. At this stage, remember, there is usually still quite a bit unknown about the project – the actual nuts and bolts of implementation will be discussed with your client at the kickoff meeting. After you’ve had your internal handover meeting, you want to move on to the external handover meeting. This is the topic of the next section in this training. Thank you for watching this training on contract handover for RFA’s, RFPs in RFQ’s. Remember if you have any questions at all please contact us at training@Aidpreneur.com.