The last few weeks I have been advising a Federal Procurement team as they refine a Procurement Statement of Work (SOW). Unfortunately, I see the existing version as being very heavy and I want the final product to be much more lean. A perfect example is the current program has 29 documents that are contractually required to be delivered. Do these documents provide value? No, most of them to not.
Instead of writing the SOW with statements like “Contract holder will deliver this document” and not provide why or how it will help the customer accomplish their goals, I think we miss an opportunity. I believe we need to advance the conversation with the potential vendors, by structuring the future work as Epics. As long as the customer quantifies “reasonable”, we give the potential vendors an opportunity to think outside the box.
As the owner of the production system, I want to be able to know the average wait time when a customer calls, so I can ensure they are receiving a reasonable level of customer service.
Rather than using practical wisdom to create a new SOW, some would rather rely on past policy, procedures, and governance, regardless of current and future needs or if they ever made sense. I’ve challenged some by saying there are no procurement requirements stating that we must have these 29 documents. One Zombie response was “I found management plans and documents referred to in the PMBOK. We should require the vendor to deliver all of them “.
Before I emptied a full can of Zombie Away on him, I said that wasn’t the most efficient approach. The PMBOK also says to use “expert judgement”. If you are not prepared to use expert judgement, a vendor is going to take your Zombie money and walk off with it. All you’ll be left with is an empty wallet and 29 documents.
I’m all for looking to the PMBOK for guidance. But remember, it is a guide, not commandments.
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