The 7 Duties of Contract Administration that Every Project Manager Should Know

In my last few blogs, I’ve discussed a number of issues surrounding procurement for project management and the different types of contract that a project manager might utilise for effective project management. In this blog I want to examine the duties that a project manager must undertake in order to administer contracts effectively through every phase of a project.

Identify project phases to identify contract deliverables

The project manager’s duties in relation to contracts does not start and end with project task execution. The project manager needs to consider each and every task, how they interact with others, and the impact on the final product at every phase as the project progresses:

  • Project initiation
  • Project planning
  • Project execution
  • Project closure

In other words, effective contract execution and administration begins before contracts are awarded and only ends after the project is completed. When the project manager understands this, then he or she can properly plan the administration of each and every contract.

How to administer project contracts effectively

As a project manager, it’s your job to ensure that each contract is considered thoroughly and sourced effectively – and then that the contractor completes the contract efficiently and effectively. In this regard the management of project contracts begins in the project initiation phase and doesn’t end until the project is completed and has been handed over to the client.

There are seven distinct duties of proficient contract administration during project management:

1. Prior planning

The project manager must undertake constructive planning of procedures before any contract commences.

2. Select the most appropriate contracts

Different tasks require different types of contracts. Want to know which are most appropriate for needs? See here.

3. Keep an eye on relationships

How work progresses will depend upon several factors, not least of which how your project team interacts with other stakeholders. This also goes for the relationships between contractors and clients: it is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that working relationships help to progress the project and not hinder it.

4. Compare and contrast on all contract levels

It is essential that you monitor actual performance against the performance planned under the terms of the contract. You’ll also need to keep finances, schedules, HR and other resources under close scrutiny throughout.

5. Keep an eye on the details

They say that the ‘devil is in the detail’, and that is certainly the case when it comes to project management. You’ll need to stay on top of all the details of each project task as the contractor works through. Hold regular meetings with all stakeholders to review ongoing progress, and take remedial action when needed to make sure you remain proactive as to project progress.

6. Learn lessons and apply them

As you progress through the project, there will be learnings on each project task. Take these on board and apply proactively to subsequent tasks, phases, and projects.

7. Standardise the change management process

Standardise your change management process, and ensure all your project contract administration tasks are comprehensive and consistent.

Make sure you administer project contracts effectively, and you’ll ensure your project is delivered successfully.

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