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Challenging the status Quo: Contract negotiation over partner collaboration.

As a buyer of a new system we formalize our expectations on the solution we want with functional and non-functional requirements. We also make sure that the new vendor is compliant with all our standards and values and that they have good credit rating and great references. And of course the price as an offer you cant refuse offered by a very nice salesperson. But what about the relationship between the two soon-to be-partners? I have been working with procurement for both sides - the vendor and the buyer - and both take for granted the upcoming collaboration will be smooth. It is often not and soon the blame game is on. So why don’t we set the expectations on eachother ways of working as partners, instead of vendor/buyer, early in the RFI so we mitigate the risk of project failure?

We must set the mutual expectations for a long time “marriage” and how to work as partners, otherwise it will fall back to contract negotiation over partner collaboration which is the norm today for procurement projects. So here I bring my challenge on this status quo as user stories in the table below, for you to copy and paste into your next RFI or RFP in an early stage to set the mutual expectations. Be my guest but also please comment below so I can update this table with your experience as well:

  • As partners we need the usage of tools to be synchronized or/and integrated so we can exchange data without delay.
  • As partners we need have a mutual trust so we can focus on delivery rather than overhead.
  • As partners we need to have full transparency with our work so we can enforce trust between us.
  • As partners we need to work closely together so we minimize the errors made by bad and slow communication.
  • As partners we need our common plans for tomorrow, the near future and next year to change often so we embrace change.
  • As partners we need to work on a long term together, so we improve our ways of working.
  • As partners we need to create a win-win situation, so we grow together as organisations.
  • As partners we need to work in an agile way of working so we adopt to modern proven practices.
  • As partners we need to become better over time, so we improve our collaboration.
  • As partners we need to have support in our way of working so we do not fall into teh standard blame-game.
  • As partners we need to have fun together so we can enjoy the daily work and solve our problems in a creative and trustful mode.
  • As partners we need to understand each other’s company (and county) culture so we have understanding of our differences and minimize misunderstandings.
  • As partners we need the expectations on each other’s to be agreed and visible, so we do not misunderstand each other.
  • As partners we need to have a common way of measuring improvements in delivery and our way of working together so we know we constantly become better.
  • As partners we need to have an understanding of the importance of growing a self-directed team along with the delivery, so we become more agile.
  • As partners we need to have an understanding of each other’s stakeholders so we can meet their expectations as well.
  • As partners we need to keep key talents within our initiative over time, so we secure maintainability.
  • As partners we need to create and maintain a “us-culture” so we do not fall into the standard blame game.
  • As partners we need to minimize time for bringing on a new talent to the team so we can be resilient with challenges.
  • As the independent agile coach i need to see above statements fulfilled so i can help the partners navigate together instead of fighting against eachother.

If you want to know more, get examples on actions and acceptance criteras for each user story, please be my partner;).