Anyone who has ever managed a project would agree that project management is like juggling – where we have to keep our eye on three balls – time, cost and quality; none being inferior to the other in any way! This may be the reason why projects fail so frequently. Though there is no clarity on the numbers, it is estimated that anywhere from 40% to 60% of projects fail! If the project, or parts of it, is outsourced, the uncertainty would double, if not quadruple!
As companies struggle to maintain a lean employee workforce, outsourcing of projects is growing exponentially. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on agency contractors, two to four dollars are spent on outsourced projects. The vast majority of the companies providing these services have less than 10 employees. This combination of factors has led to many providers of Vendor Management Systems (VMS) tailoring their offerings to support the execution of SOW-based projects. But, customers need to dig a little deeper to know what kind of support would be really useful in the management of a project so that it becomes easier to verify how useful the VMS would really be.
Most projects are complex. They many involve multiple phases, with each major activity requiring a different resource plan. Activities may be undertaken sequentially or in parallel, but must ultimately be stitched together with timing designed to accommodate all contingencies and dependencies. The pricing models vary from time-and-materials to fixed price, deliverables-based payments. Some projects combine multiple models. Projects may combine multiple worker classes, who are vastly different from each other in their status and in the way they are managed.
Most VMS providers view management of outsourced projects as a logical extension of traditional contingent workforce management. As such, their systems are optimized to support the payment of project resources working under the time-and-materials model, which is, of course, very similar to the processes applied to the payment of agency-supplied contractors. This is insufficient for complex project management.
To truly support complex projects, a VMS system must offer the following functions:
Do write in and let us know how you would feel about a program with such functionalities and if you feel it would require any additional features.
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