As a project manager, your responsibilities extend across a range of areas including selecting vendors. Clearly, you need people who can deliver what you need and when you need it. Aside from skills and capacity, what else should you be looking for in a vendor?
- Assess organisation needs
First, you need to be confident you fully understand what your needs and requirements are. Every project will have different pressure points, wants and needs and so being clear on what is needed to solve and move the project forward when looking for vendors with particular skills is crucial to choosing the right company or person.
In terms of software, for example, you will need to determine key aspects such as remote access to data along with the ease of file sharing, data storage and reporting.
- Demo the products
If the vendor is offering to supply products such as software or hardware, most project management training courses will suggest that as project manager, it is your responsibility to ensure both quality and suitability. And that means using the products, giving them a test run to see if they perform as you need them too.
- Measure against regulatory standards
Regulatory standards exist across a number of industries and sectors. They do so to maintain a standard of service, quality and delivery. As project manager, you shouldn’t be taking chances with any of these factors and certainly when it comes to outsourcing to vendors. Research the current industry standards for the field in which you are working and check that vendors meet or exceed these standards.
- Work the figures
Everything comes at a cost and as project manager, you’ll need to balance the project budget or certainly your proportion of it. Depending on what you are buying into, you will need to consider a range of costs such as the initial purchase as well as possible costs to upgrading or changing your own systems. There may also be ongoing costs to consider should as upgrades and repairs, again depending on what service or products you are seeking to buy.
- Check reviews and ask for references
Even for small contracts, it is always worth seeking professional reviews and references, simply because as the project manager, you need to have complete faith the vendor in question can produce the goods and service that you need and to the high standard that you need them to.
A time-consuming but essential process
Finding vendors, objectively assessing their business and what they have on offer is time-consuming. And rightly so considering the importance of investing your budget in them.
The benefits of project training are such that outsourcing to vendors is covered in the syllabus and no wonder when you consider the importance and frequency that buying in products and service from vendors happen during the lifetime of a project.