Thinking of adding SOW management in your program? Make sure you understand the goal and the scope of what you need. Launching SOW management in a CW program requires a number of structural capabilities and strategic considerations.  Ultimately, you will need to decide the purpose of adding SOW management. In practical terms, is your goal to focus on cost effectiveness, risk mitigation and/or SOW project service quality delivery?

Once your goals are established, you will need to put a partner strategy in place to deliver on the goals. The key is integrating internal CW program capabilities with those of internal partners and external SOW program management solution partners.  Internal partners could be procurement, finance, legal and the expert skilled business functions. External SOW management solution partners can be technology software providers and managed service/SOW management solution providers. Deciding how to integrate the expertise of each of these potential partners in the SOW management process can be tricky.

SOW management partner strategies can vary widely from one buyer organization to the next depending on multiple factors, such as CW program capabilities and SOW management program mission to direct sourcing/management of SOW solution providers and/or the volume management requirement of the SOW projects and services involved.

Key factors affecting the development of one’s SOW management partner strategy:

SOW program management mission and goals. As noted earlier, what is the mission focus of the SOW management program itself and what capabilities are needed to support that mission/goals? What partner integration/support will be required to deliver on the mission in terms of management value promised and/or volume of SOW management activity being targeted?

SOW program management service elements. The planned range and depth of management services for SOW projects and services provided will impact the scope and type of partnerships required in the partnership strategy. These partnership capabilities will then need to integrate formally in the SOW management process value envisioned.

CW program expertise, capability and resources. The use of any partners, whether internal corporate function partners or external SOW management service partners, is to complement the internal SOW program management capabilities of the CW program. This complement could be based on a specific management skill need, such as IC compliance, to simply managing the SOW project or service lifecycle event. Current external staff augmentation partners’ SOW management capabilities will naturally be a part of a program’s SOW capability evaluation scan. Not surprisingly, some capability scans of current staff augmentation MSP solution providers have led to integrating an additional and separate MSP solution provider to just focus on the SOW project and services scope.  Complementing CW program SOW management capabilities and skills is taking multiple forms of partner integration strategies.

Partner integration and metrics plan. Once the integration of partners is designed, a performance metric planned can be established. Metrics should focused on the control a particular partner has of a specific component of the SOW management process. External partner metrics should have monetary incentives that drives attention to the performance value targeted. Performance management metrics can and should be established for internal corporate function partners involved with the SOW management process and made visible in terms of positive or negative impact on the mission/goals of the SOW management program.

These strategies are just a few considerations that one has to take into account when designing and implementing internal and external partner contributions to the SOW management service delivery plan. Most partner roles (internal or external) will be based on the capabilities each can bring to support the delivery of SOW management. The partner integration strategy will vary from one buyer organization to the next depending on SOW management capabilities inherent in the CW program and the management culture of the CW program and/or the buyer organization that it resides in. Staffing Industry Analyst’s Sourcing Model Framework could provide some important initial guidance on SOW management partner integration considerations.