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How Project Managers Avoid Burning Money On Software Maintenance

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Here is an interesting scenario: You are the project manager of a system implementation for which certain modules have already gone live. Your vendor still needs to deliver the final phase of the implantation, but is already asking you for maintenance payments on the earlier implemented modules. What do you?

This scenario occurs quite often in the world of project management. Vendors want to get paid as they already provide support to users from the modules that are live. It’s only fair to pay them, right?

May be not! The answer is hidden in the contract. This is where things get complicated and the Project Manager needs a strong Contracts/Procurement representative to provide feedback on the contract says. In some instances the contract department may have foreseen this scenario happening and may have preplanned. If you are lucky enough to be in those instances you wouldn’t be reading this article. Congratulate your contract representative.

For the rest of us, this doesn’t happen – but we are fortunate, because we can learn from this. So here is how your clients can avoid having to pay full maintenance for a partially delivered system (now and in the future):

Being proactive:

  • Create a risk plan and add this scenario as part of it – this will get you and your team thinking about how to address these instances before they occur
  • Invite your contractual representative during your risk planning and ensure he/she addresses this scenario should the project extend beyond planned time frame

Being reactive:

  • Is your contract current? If contract has expired, you are in luck. It’s time to renegotiate on your terms that benefit your users. Make sure your contracts representative is with you every step of the way
  • Renegotiate the current maintenance terms with your vendor. After all, full maintenance payments for partially delivered product just don’t make sense
  • If you are not getting anywhere with your vendor, it may be time to take the matter to court – in that case, ensure you have a good attorney

Can you recommend other possible solutions?

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