When we at SIA hear about unusual strategies, such as purposely not having a tenure policy or dumping their rate card-based management, our team pays attention.

Such was the case during a recent CCWP SOW Management Expert certification class when an attending certification candidate shared an integrated management best practice around the idea of creating an “SOW solutions menu.”

An SOW solutions menu includes repeatable statement-of-work project and service operation templates that have been vetted and determined to be perfectly suitable as SOW engagements. Their inclusion as a menu item makes them immediately available to an organization’s engagement managers seeking to execute standard SOW projects or services. The key here is that these operation templates are readily known and highly reliable to engage.

The SOW engagements found in a SOW solutions menu have recognizable execution patterns that can be managed and outcomes enhanced. Engagement managers seeking these SOW projects and/or services can review the menu of solutions to leverage and then execute one for their specific requirements, assured of the high probability of achieving the targeted outcome. This menu management approach potentially enhances and addresses several core SOW engagement manager execution concerns:

Boosts speed to solution. Speed to solution is enhanced because the menu options are all previously vetted, including delivery partners; SOW execution methodologies; contract terms and insurance requirements; and cost-effectiveness pricing governance to list just a few required SOW elements. Limited haggling is needed or allowed to execute these repeatable, standard SOW solutions.

Lowers risk to completion. If a menu of SOW solutions has already been previously vetted, the delivery performance of a solution should be reasonable solid and the risk to completion should be drastically lowered if not close to risk free as a key SOW engagement risk concern.

Drives ongoing, competitive cost-effectiveness. Each option on an SOW solutions menu will include two to three vetted and optimized SOW delivery partners. These partners will understand the agreed-upon costs/price for delivering the menu item for the organization. They will also be aware that they will have to continually evolve the delivery of that solution to remain competitive and part of this repeatable SOW engagement menu item/category. A matter of standard competitive bidding for any SOW solution on the menu would continue to take place among the approved list of delivery partners for an SOW solution item.

Enhances delivery partners. Similar to what we learned and know from optimizing our CW program’s staff augmentation partner portfolio, we can cover 80% or more of an organization’s SOW requirements with a minimal portfolio of capable and compliantly optimized SOW delivery partners. The CW program management benefits of delivery partner optimization is significant and well established on the staff augmentation side of the CW management house; hence, this optimization action could and should be implemented on the SOW spend management side also.

Maximizes quality. If one can execute quality, efficiency, cost and risk performance management standards across SOW spend and engagement transactions, overall SOW solution quality is going to rise and be sustainable. SOW solution menu execution structure requirements forces a CW program to address each and every element of a QECR performance standard in order to simply construct and implement this SOW program management tool. Additionally, quality should be enhanced if one is using repeatable delivery solution methodologies, vetted SOW delivery partners and leveraging informed spend management and pricing practices.

Maximizes time. The repeatable SOW engagements suitable for an SOW solutions menu typically comprise 50% to 80% of an organization’s SOW program needs. By establishing an SOW solutions menu, a CW program team may find itself with more time available to focus on addressing and supporting the more complex, nonrepeatable SOW engagements that comprise the remaining 20% to 50% of projects. Sure, there may be a unique scope requirement to adjust or a few transaction elements to add from time to time, but that does not make them part of the the SOW engagements that need to be created out of whole cloth and in many cases are one-off transactions that need a more significant investment of time to manage.

It’s time to stop treating repeatable SOW transactions as complex and unmanageable. Much of your SOW spend can be effectively managed with a solutions menu, and free you up for the one-off, more complex SOW engagements.