Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Achieving outcomes when contracting

Thinking back to my booklet "Selling to Government" while listening to radio comments on Government cost cutting I was struck by an emphasis on "how" not "what". In my experience disaster projects usually have a dearth of thinking on what outcomes are wanted, unbalanced by plenty of documentation of how to achieve them.

I do hope the new Government will not get dragged into too much emphasis on professionalising the "how" when contracting, or revising contracts . It's so much more productive to have a person who understands and cares about the outcomes in charge, as that results in the right emphasis. Professionalism is important, but only when properly directed.

When cutting budgets and saving money there is an understandable desire to focus on the"how" and forget about the impact on outcomes. Who hasn't come across a project where a relativly small reduction in specification removed a large chunk of the value that should have been achieved. In reviewing government announcements I'll be keeping an eye on the relationship with budget cuts to the outcomes promised, and if the outcomes are hard to spot getting concerned.

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