Coordinating providers is not easy. Whether you are in the same office or at a distance, working together is not easy. These difficulties arise whether you are working with subcontractors or co-contractors. The two key elements for the best possible coordination are contractualized commitments and communication between all stakeholders.
Challenges in coordinating with or between providers
Commitments and roles
The main difficulties in project management with service providers is to clearly identify the commitments and roles of each one.
The project manager often has no hierarchical link to the service providers or co-contractors. He or she generally has the role of coordinator, with the added pressure of his or her own hierarchy.
Its role and attributions must therefore be perfectly defined both by its hierarchy and with regard to all the participants in the project. This is not the most comfortable position because, by definition, he will have to manage all the problems that will arise during the project.
The contract, the reference for the manager
The roles and commitments of the service providers are defined in the respective contracts signed by each of the companies. These contracts must be perfectly detailed in order to define the following points:
- what is the provider’s final deliverable
- the delivery date
- The conditions of realization (the needs of the provider to carry out his mission)
- the selected operating mode
- the estimated number of working days
- the work period
- the key steps
- planned coordination meetings
How best to coordinate an outsourced team?
Once the contracts are well defined and validated, it is essential to build a shared Gantt schedule. This is the schedule shared by all team members working on the project. This macro-planning will make it possible to clearly identify the sequence of tasks of the various service providers. It has a dual purpose: it allows to identify the order of intervention of each one, and above all to anticipate possible blockages.
Each provider lists the actions it will carry out and estimates the start and end dates for each. On this occasion, with our Wekowork application, they can also mention the risks they identify.
Regardless of the working method and project management tools you adopt, it is essential that each service provider as well as the client have real-time information about the project. The key to project progress is communication.
How to manage an outsourced team
It is never easy to manage an outsourced team: why? Because your interlocutors have thought patterns and reflexes that are not those you practice on a daily basis. How do you deal with these risks? The essential point is to minimize “possible interpretations”. Every commitment, every decision must be clear and understood by all.
To ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of how the others will move forward, it is essential to hold regular coordination meetings. Even for a small project that seems to be on track, these steps are essential.