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Before you proceed with signing and implementing the contract, ask if you have suffiently built in methods to address risks and failures aside from immediately resorting to enforcing contract terms. Vendors want to know if they are not meeting expectations prior to financial penalties being enacted, and by providing clear and actionable feedback on a regular basis, you can avoid “last resort” penalties.

The vendor may request an addition or expansion beyond the agreed-upon project scope, which can impact any area of the project. Prior to green-lighting such an expansion, the acquisition team should assess the reason for the request, how critical it may be, and the ways in which the request may impact the schedule, cost, deliverables and organization. The team should also consider the potential impact of not approving the request. The requirements traceability matrix can be a useful tool for evaluating a request for scope expansion. (See the documenting requirements section.)

Considerations

Many jurisdictions have an upper limit to the number of amendments that are possible. By amending a contract due to the vendor not meeting deadlines, you may “eat up” your allowable amendments, which might be needed later for ever more important changes to the contract.

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