Legal vetting helps reduce project failure

Interesting SearchCIO article on leveraging legal (and purchasing) expertise to faciliate deals (here, I think this is available w/out the free registration).  A few comments on the speech by Erik Phelps:

“It is not just the ‘bad vendor’ who sells the software; often it is the bad customer who isn’t going about the procurement process very well,” …. [c]hanging how the deal goes down, he argued, improves the acquisition process and minimizes the project’s risk of failure.

We get worried when we see a customer that doesn’t appear to have any “checks and balances” on the procurement process.  If we aren’t getting asked hard questions, then are we being set up for failure?

The first step in improving the acquisition process is to know the kind of deal you want before you start, Phelps said. Not surprisingly, he recommends that CIOs get their lawyers in the game early.  By the time lawyers are usually called in, it’s too late.

Oh, yeah.  If lawyers come in late, everyone will want to lawyer up.  Read the whole article for more good stuff — encouraging vendor input to speed RFPs, make vendors accountable for RFP answers, allow vendors to propose changes to contract terms.

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