Much time and effort go into developing a statement-of-work (SOW) management component within a CW program. On paper, we see the promise of a well-planned and executed program: quality, improved efficiency, potential cost savings and risk mitigation. Delivering on that promise is no easy feat, as the success of the program expansion depends on others to come on board and embrace the change.

Finding the perfect efficiency blend of quality, time and cost is a challenge, as anyone familiar with the concept of the Iron Triangle can attest. This requires that there will be a trade-off that takes place when leveraging these elements. Each organization must decide how to roll out their program: Should the program go big bang or start smaller, such as with basic resource tracking? Even those programs that start still struggle with SOW adoption. We find that SOW users tend to be slower to adapt and embrace this change as they struggle to understand the ROI for the added steps to an already lengthy and cumbersome process. We also have found that many SOW engagement managers have an entrepreneurial mindset and feel they have been delivering results just fine without any sort of technology or MSP involvement, so why change?

Will They Come?

So how does a CW program office gain adoption of a new SOW program that will be driven through a specified technology and potentially with some sort of MSP (internal or external) involvement. More to the point, it’s not how to gain adoption but whether your program be adopted. To know if your program has a chance, start by answering a few basic questions.

  • Does your SOW program have a clearly defined mission statement?
  • Will the new SOW program provide quantifiable value to the organization?
  • Will the proposed solution provide credibility to the program, save time, reduce risk and/or potentially save money? (*note; answering yes to one of these components will suffice as a solid value proposition if the value prop supports the organizational goals and objectives)
  • Do you have the support from someone in senior leadership to help drive adoption via a strong value proposition?
  • Do you have the right technology and expertise to manage the technology?
  • Do you have the right talent (MSP, internal or external) and configuration to support the proposed strategy?
  • What option of implementation can you successfully support?
    1. Big bang — full RFP, RFI support
    2. Resource tracking — the ability of the technology to work with internal systems (full integration or flat file feeds)

If the current proposed solution you are considering does not allow you to answer yes to these questions, it’s important to reconsider your strategy as the likelihood of adoption does not seem viable.

Draw Them In

How do you gain adoption? Provide a strong value proposition that aligns with your organizational goals and objectives but does not disrupt the business beyond the value proposition. For example: If your value proposition reduces risk by identifying misclassification of resources but adds three weeks to the process of executing an SOW, it is likely that stakeholders will find a workaround rather than adopt the process.

Remember, SOW management is a major undertaking. You must be able to clearly define your ability and the scope of reach you’re capable of supporting before implementing the change. Be sure you can answer yes to the validation questions above to show you are prepared to launch and conquer.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and leverage the experience of peers who have been through the process before. Also, remember once you have implemented your SOW program to be willing to share your own journey with those who are considering a similar implementation. Most important, be mindful of the enormous effort this type of change requires and make sure you have the right stakeholder and leadership involved and more important that you have the right support, processes and technology to deliver a high-value solution.