Patricia Garofano

How to Replace a Vendor who is Not Working Out

An interview with Patricia Garofano

This is Guerilla Project Management with Samad Aidane.  We bring you engaging and thought-provoking conversations with today’s leading project management experts and emerging influences.

patricia_garofanoSamad: Welcome to this edition of Guerilla Project Management.  Today, I have the pleasure to chat with Patricia Garofano about her insights on how to smoothly and successfully replace a vendor who is not working out because they are no longer willing or able to meet requirements.

How do you find and secure a new vendor? Negotiate a contract that holds a new vendor accountable?  Manage the entire transition with minimal impact on your organization?  Patricia uses a case study that shows how to: effectively manage communication when the current vendor is part of an RFP process, identify the best vendor, conduct negotiations, finalize a contract that holds the vendor accountable for certain standards of customer satisfaction, and plan and manage a transition period to ensure a new vendor is ready to perform at the end of the transition period with a minimal amount of customer impact.  More importantly, Patricia shows how to run the entire transition from one vendor to another as a project with its own initiation, planning, execution, and close-out phases.  Patricia Garofano, PMP is a project management consultant and trainer with over 20 years of project management and leadership experience.  She is a PMP, ITIL, ScrumMaster and Microsoft Project Certified.  She’s a graduate of PMI Leadership Institute Masters Class and a volunteer with the PMI Educational Foundation.  She has worked for such organizations as Microsoft, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.  Here we go.

Don’t miss hearing Patricia speak at the Project Management Telesummit: March 8-10, 2011. Find out more

Patricia, welcome.

Patricia: Oh, thank you.  Thank you so much, Samad, I have looked forward to this interview.

S: Patricia, how did you get interested in exploring the topic of vendor transition and why should project managers pay attention to this topic?

P: Thanks for asking that. As a consultant, for most of my career I was assigned several vendor transition projects at various companies. The presentation I gave at the PMI Global Congress last year was about one such project for a major software company.  I am very interested in talking about this because of the particular success I’ve had with a project that I’m going to be referring to in this interview.

I noticed that organizations are outsourcing more and more, so vendor transition becomes very relevant to project managers as we involve vendors in our projects more.  I found very little literature about vendor management, managing projects with vendors, and managing vendor transitions.  Let me explain what I mean by “vendor transition” as a project.  I basically mean moving from one vendor to another and all that is involved in that. So it’s from the point in time in which an organization realizes they would like to change a vendor that is supplying them with products or services.

The process of considering the issues involved, the process of who do you want to include in your prospective vendors, and then putting together that solicitation document, answering all that, gathering the proposals, doing the negotiation, developing the statement of work which will become the contract with that new vendor, and also the transition period you need to have between one vendor to the other so that there will be a smooth transition to your ultimate customers from there.

S: Patricia, what are some of the common reasons or situations that cause a customer to switch vendors?

P: First of all, one of the biggest, most common reasons would be poor performance of some type.  They’re not measuring up to the level of what was expected of them.  Increased cost can be another consideration, as well as a decrease in customer satisfaction.  Very often you’ve got metrics that you have built in to measure your customer’s satisfaction.  Perhaps there’s some kind of change going on within your organization: changes in lines of business, changes in business objectives that might result in the fact that the current vendor you have can’t handle that for one reason or another.  They don’t have the skills, they’re not scalable, and so forth.

S: Give us a high-level overview of the key considerations an organization should take into account when planning to switch from one vendor to the other.

P: Let me put this talk into a little bit of context.  The presentation I gave at the North American Congress for PMI this past October was centered around a project I did that was a global project.  It involved vendors who were providing services in a region of the world other than where the company was.  Also, the project was about business process outsourcing. The customers in this case were not external end-users of the products, but rather distributors.

One of the things that you need to consider is: will you get any added value if you decide to actually switch vendors? Do you think you can actually transform or improve a particular function that the vendor is performing for you? Do you think you can get improved customer satisfaction? Do you think that’s really possible? You might want to take advantage of some superior offerings of other vendors you know are out there.  Other considerations are what are your internal costs going to be? Is this really viable for us to do? What is the impact to the business and to the customers of having this particular transition period from one vendor to another, at this particular period of time (depending on one that falls in your business cycle in your fiscal year)?

Also, could it possibly be that the existing vendor you have might be able to change things with them? In the current contract with them, do you have wording like a Right of Recourse (that I’ll talk about a little bit further) that could bring them up to a level where you don’t need to actually switch?  Those are some things for consideration.

S: Based on your experience, what have you found to be the key issues we need to consider before switching vendors?

P: Once you’ve made that decision that “Yes, we really need to get out of this” and in the particular situation that I gave my presentation on, the company was actually using two different vendors to provide this business process outsourcing.  They were split up like different lines of business.  One of them was actually internal to the United States, and that contract was written up to pay them hourly.  That wound up costing the company a lot more money than they thought it would.  That was one of the problems.  Another problem was that their performance dropped off and the customer satisfaction ratings dropped.  The other vendor was set up properly with what I recommend, which is pay on a monthly basis.  It’s a lot easier to control your costs when you set up your pricing on a monthly basis.  The problem with that vendor was that they were dropping off on performance.  So these are the kind of key issues you need to consider.  They brought me in and asked me to find one single vendor that could handle everything those two different vendors were doing.  Knowledge is no longer in-house.  It’s one of the key issues you need to consider before switching vendors.  You’ve already outsourced this, so you don’t have a lot of that knowledge in-house any longer.  So, you need to think about how you are going to handle that.

You need to consider are there assets and resources that will need to be transferred from one vendor to another if you do your transition with any European Union. There’s actually an acquired rights directive that states that resources will transfer automatically to the new vendor or they’ll actually be transferred to the customer.  When I say customer, I mean the outsourcing organization.  Other issues to consider before switching vendors are timing: What kind of schedule and flexibility do you have? Will you include the current vendor in the RFP process? Are they going be part of it, have skin in the game? How are you going to handle all of that with them?

S: Based on your experience, have you seen use of the RFP process becoming popular in the private sector the way it is in the public sector?

P: Yes, I do see that.  I was planning to talk to you a little bit about that. One of the steps you follow in your planning is figuring out what solicitation method to use. Obviously, our request for a quote – is it going to give you the full background on the capabilities of that vendor? And a request for information – is it going to give you a price? I recommend the RFP, but to answer your question, yes I have seen that as the solicitation method of choice.

S: About your approach of transitioning from one vendor to another as an actual structured project -Before we delve into the details of your approach, can you give us a high-level overview of your overall methodology?

P: Yes, I’d be happy to do that. First, I recommend that you examine your issues for and against transferring to a new vendor. Once you decide to switch, consider the key issues that I mentioned previously and how they will impact the business. Can we afford to do this at this time? Then, carefully plan out your transaction and make sure that it is going to be very smooth. Then, execute that plan. Ensure a very well crafted contract protects you from similar problems in the future. What helped us to be successful in this was very strong risk management, very strong project planning, and a lot of time spent on project planning. Also, good buy-in from senior management, a really good communication plan, making sure that the decision-makers knew when they would need to be involved, and making sure that they would make the critical decisions. Decisions like which vendor are we going to select, and some of the points in the contract itself. Ensure that they are available for that. Make that really tight contract that protects you from having those similar problems in the future.  That’s exactly what we did in this case, as the contracts with those previous vendors were rather loose.  They didn’t have a lot of features that bound the vendors to critical metrics, or put in place things we could do as an organization to penalize them if they didn’t.

S: Patricia, we’re going to mention that buy-in from senior management has to be so important – because if you embark on this effort and it turns out you didn’t hit the metrics you promised without that buy-in you, are in deep trouble.

P: Exactly.

S: You provide a ten-step process for planning the transition.  Can you walk us through this process?

Yes.  Obviously, as a good project manager, you have to identify your stakeholders.  We developed a core team that was made up of the vendor manager and supporting personnel reporting to that vendor manager in-house. We had a steering committee made up of some quite high-level decision-makers, including a VP within the organization.  We had an extended team that included areas you need to involve in such a project: legal, procurement, program managers involved in various lines of business, tax people, trade people, finance people, that type of thing. Also, someone involved in customer feedback – someone who would have the responsibility within the organization for customer satisfaction metrics.

Step two is to develop your business strategy.  As I mentioned, one of the vendors was being charged hourly.  We decided that this time we wouldn’t do that.  We said to ourselves, “Let’s ensure that we charge monthly this time.” The business strategy was about looking for a vendor that could be scalable.  Someone that would improve customer ratings, have better performance; we’re looking for someone using the language skills in the region itself. Keeping things right there in the region by finding a vendor who operates there.

Step 3 is that initial buy-in from the key decision-makers, and getting agreement at that time on a list of potential vendors.

Step 4, develop your termination strategy. How are you going to break off your contract with your existing vendors? You want to make sure that you have the lowest termination fees if any are going to come into play. We decided to include the current vendors in the RFP to make a nice smooth transition, making them feel that they have skin in the game.  We told them that if they didn’t get selected, we were really going to need their support. Ask them very nicely and treat them with kid gloves on that one.

Part of the termination strategy is also to have that current vendor assist in training. We also developed the idea of a retention bonus, which we used. We talked about it, and we included it in the budget. When it came time to talk to the current vendors, we offered that as a way for that money to go directly to the agents that worked for them. It was a means to avoid vendor flight after they’d find out they were not selected.

Step 5, develop your transition plan. How you are actually going to go through your transition process, which is the period when the new and current vendors perform the same functions. We said when we do that, we’re going to transition one function at a time from one vendor to another so that only one vendor is doing that work during that transition period. So, you can capture that well and make sure that the current vendor is there training and shadowing during that transition period. Have the best of both resources there helping out.  Who is going to have responsibility for ongoing projects? You need to think about that during your transition period. Review your contract for any equipment or contracts that need to be purchased by the new vendor in leases or licenses that need to be transferred.

This is very important, this helped us a lot: staggering your schedule so that you tell the vendor “these are the resources you need to hire and train.” Stagger the schedule. Tell them which team members are critical. Identify your mission critical functions and make sure that those people are hired first and trained first.  That helped us a lot in keeping on schedule. Then put your schedule together. Ours was about nine months long. I would definitely suggest at least six to nine months for such a project I’m talking about. Put your charter together that has your high-level objectives, business outcomes, goals, typical project management practices, advantages to be gained, negatives to be overcome.  Put together your risk management plan.  In our case, we very carefully planned out how to mitigate the issues we saw, such as knowledge going out the door, and the knowledge already being not in-house anymore. One of our plans for that was before we even started to solicit the RFPs. Talk to the current vendor and tell them, “Listen, it’s been three years (or whatever it was) since the last time the process documentation was updated. Let’s sit down and get that done.” So, we got that started before we moved into that and it helped to mitigate that risk.

Step 9, put together your budget. Step 10, have a steering committee meeting to go over all of these things with them: the risk management plan, your schedule, termination strategy, transition strategy, and get approval to move forward from there.

So, the planning is everything up until the time when you actually start executing the plan, where you actually put together your RFP.

S: After the planning, you recommend a twelve-step process for executing this transition plan. Let’s talk about this process.

P: Sure. First, you need to develop your RFP, as I mentioned. I recommend an RFP because an RFI only gets you answers to questions, but no pricing. The RFQ is just a price without information, but you want to know about their capabilities. Your contents should include everything that you want from them. You want very clear stipulation of what you need to be done. I also recommend that, within the RFP, you try to include as many terms and conditions that you are planning to negotiate when you sit down and do your negotiations. In our case, what were relevant to that were currency exchange fluctuations, cost of living changes, and SLAs, which I’ll get into a little bit more. Make sure your RFP includes a price bid form. Tell them distinctly how you plan to do the transition process. Talk about howling criteria, job descriptions, make sure it’s clear they know what they are expected to do when they do their hiring.

Step two is to develop your evaluation criteria. Hand-in-hand with putting together your RFP, which is going to generate your proposal from your prospective members, is figure out how you are going to evaluate it before you send it out to war.  Because if you don’t think about that, when it comes back you may get confused. You may be looking at this saying “They all look really good. Who are we going to pick?” Make sure you know what’s important to you. Identify key capabilities, including price. After all, that is important.

Step three, review that with your steering committee. I mentioned quite a number of steering committee meetings.  Depending on your organization, they may not be as important, but we found that they were. So, show your steering committee, at a high level, the contents of the RFP and how you’re going to do your evaluation. Make sure you get at that point in time those who are going to be the evaluators. “Alright, now you know you’re going to be doing this, right? You better be ready to help!”

Step four, start communications with your current vendor. Give them a heads-up. Tell them they have an equal opportunity to participate in this RFP. Tell them why you’re doing it. You may need to spin that a little bit. You may need to say, “We’ve got some changes within the organization and would kind of like to look around.” Extend the contract if needed. Offer a retention bonus if that’s what you decide to do.

Step five, send out that RFP. I also recommend using an “Intent to Bid” form with that proposal, and what can come back with that form are their questions. Common sense. Put together a generic email back for all your communications so it’s not going to a particular person.  It helps to couch that. It’s more professional.

S: Especially because you’re going to need a single point of contact anyway for these vendors.

P: Exactly. That’s one of the things you need to find out up front.

Step six, hold your vendor conference calls. Like bitter conferences, as they talk about in the Tim Bach guide. Another reason I wanted to do this presentation was that the Tim Bach guide covers at a very high level what you do in procurement, but there’s a lot there that they don’t talk about.

S: Oh, absolutely. They call this the missing chapters of the Tim Bach.

P: Exactly. Hold separate calls for each of the vendors. Review the points. Ask them if they have any questions. When you are done with all of them, publish all the questions with all the answers so everybody sits there and it’s equally balanced. Then review your proposals. Have the evaluators sit down and use the evaluation criteria, provide feedback, hold meetings to discuss, and then, this is very important, I recommend that you pick or talk to two or three rather than just one. Here’s why: when you get into the negotiation part of it, things might go sour. If, at that point, you’ve already told the other the people that they’re not in the game, and if you told your number-one choice, “You are my number-one choice, and there is nobody else,” you’re stuck in a box.

S: Absolutely. And once they know they’re the only one selected, it becomes very hard to put them to compromise because they see that you don’t have any leverage.

P: To put it colloquially, they have you over a barrel.

S: Ha-ha, that’s a good one.

P: So, after you sat with the evaluators, pitched or talked to two or three (you obviously have to have good reasons for your choices), hold another steering committee meeting. Put things together. Talk about the results of the evaluation and get agreement on those top two or three that you are going to negotiate with.

S: Patricia, many people will wonder, “Why do we have to keep going back to the steering committee?” You and I have been in this situation before. Basically, you want to constantly be getting buy-in all along the way so that you don’t get to the point where there is this massive opposition to a decision that’s been made. Maybe there are personal preferences. Sometimes there are people that like specific vendors. But if you have this rebellion against you and against your evaluation team, then it’s just going to be delaying your project further. Is that correct?

P: I totally agree with you. Let me give you a bit of an example. In this project that I’m referring to, there was someone on the steering committee who was not totally in favor of switching vendors.  He liked one of the current vendors that we were using. As with a lot of large organizations, in that particular case, the organization used that vendor for other services and products, and they were doing an excellent job with that. I’m going to call that a halo effect. He saw that several committee members saw the good side of what this vendor was providing elsewhere, but he didn’t have close enough contact with the problems. So, what we did in the beginning was tell him and make him aware of the problems, ask him to be patient with us, and to see how the proposals would come out. And when the proposals came in, that vendor was really lacking. If you would compare their proposal with the vendor we chose, it was like night and day.

S: Sometimes vendors feel so entitled to that client or project, there’s just so much arrogance. That’s really what it is in my experience, where they don’t feel like they have to work hard at proving themselves – why they are worthy of this. I had that experience before.

P: Step nine, negotiate terms. When you need to negotiate currency exchange fluctuations, especially for a multi-year contract (this one wound up being a 5 year contract, where it “wasn’t the kingdom that you’re dealing with” to put it bluntly). I recommend that you’re using an agreed-upon index. Choose a day each year when the weight will be recalculated. Recalculate the service fees that you’re going to pay. I also recommend using an established threshold. So, if we are going to use this index where we calculate every year, if the index varies by more than 6%, we have to sit down and negotiate this. There are different ways that you can word that in the contract.

For cost of living changes, I recommend that you use a three-year average according to several indices in the country of operation. Again, I recommend establishing a threshold. For example, if it exceeds 9% (or something like that) we are going to sit down and agree on what type of adjustments we’ll make.  For volume-of-work adjustments – if the business changes and the volume of work that vendor is doing goes way down or way up, you need to have some documentation about that. Also, what I recommend is that you say that a customer will only pay for any volume-of-work adjustments if they are approved in writing by the customer. So, you have to be very careful. This could end up being a he said, she said kind of thing.  Also, there should be no adjustments of volume of work, no adjustment to service fees, because they’re still working things out; they’re still getting their feet on the ground.  You want to say that. Again you want to establish a threshold for volume-of-work adjustments if that’s exceeded. Establish thresholds every year as part of a capacity planning process. When you’re talking about volume of work, this is not currency exchange fluctuation, but you need to have some kind of capacity planning process also documented in your contract. Very important to have some SLA metrics.

What do you mean by SLA?

It could be response time. People have to respond by a certain time. They have to resolve an issue by a certain time. That was part of our contract. We had customer satisfaction metrics, as well as performance metrics with this business process outsourcing. There might be other things. You might be outsourcing your software development. We had quite a number of these SLA metrics. In order to marry those SLA metrics with what we call “service credits” and “earn-backs,” we actually find different levels to the SLA metrics depending on their importance. In our case, it was Level One and Level Two. The Level One were more important to the business than the Level Two.

So, I talked about service credits and earn-backs. Service credits are kind of like an incentive for the vendor to comply, and make an offer via penalties for not complying to those SLA metrics. For those of you who’ve never heard of that, it stands for Service Level Agreements. So, the credits will be applied to a monthly payment and there would be a calculation that you would use. The paper that I wrote has a lot of details on that. There are weights or percentages applied to that calcuation based on whether that SLA was a Level One or Level Two. There’s a percentage for each SLA depending on the ratio of that service that’s being provided to the overall monthly price that you’re paying the vendor. Then, there’s an overall maximum for the service credit based on the percentage of the monthly payment, which is 5%. Hard to explain in an audio interview, it’s quite complicated.

S: Well, we’ll post the notes for the listeners so they’ll have those calculations in front of them.

P: Perfect. The earn-backs are like the opposite of the service credits. If there has been a situation where the vendor did not perform as they were supposed to, and they’ve been dinged – some of that money has been withheld based on the service credit calculation. But, let’s say a couple months down the road they come back and they’ve improved their performance and maybe do even better than the target metrics. The earn-backs then direct a chance to earn back some of that money, but not all of it.

Also, another item I highly recommend in negotiation is having a right of recourse, as well as a dispute resolution process. The right of recourse is steps that you take when performance starts going bad. It gets called out; it’s in a meeting. The vendor is supposed to come up with an action plan of how they’re going to improve in 5 days. If they don’t, you start going to another level. If things keep going over several months, two months, four months; if they’re not getting any better you go to the second level, which is called the second level of right of recourse. If things don’t get better after another few more months after, that’s when you would have the right to do a termination for cause. What also comes into this is you get involved in what’s called a dispute resolution process where you might actually bring in a mediator. Normally, that would not be written in the contract. I also recommend that you need to have a non disclosure agreement (NDA) with your prospective vendors before you even send them the RFP. When you’re going to work with a vendor, you need to have a master service agreement with them that has your general type of terms and conditions, including what is the dispute resolution process. Because that should be generic, it really should not be specific to one vendor.

S: Does it also work to have these types of general terms and conditions part of the RFP process, or part of the final contract if the customer does not have a master service agreement with the vendor?

P: That has not been my experience in the companies I have worked with. I suppose that might be possible if your legal counsel recommends it, but everything could be within that contract.

S: I see this in the case where the vendor is hired for a specific project, so it is possible to have some RFP’s. I recommend having those terms and conditions advertised in the RFP.  It’s good for the vendors to see exactly what they’re bidding for and not surprise them after you select them and start negotiating the statements of work; to suddenly spring on them these general terms and conditions.  But it’s just one way that some customers do it.

P: I agree with that.  If I understand you correctly, you’re saying in addition to specific terms in conditions for this particular relationship, it’s a good idea to show the general ones for all vendors when the RFP is sent out. Is that what you’re saying?

S: Yes, because some vendors might have a problem with some of the terms, for example, some insurance terms, bond terms, that some vendors just can’t meet.  It’s good to be transparent with them as early as possible.  Some of them will decide not to bid at all, which is great in that they do not have to waste their resources.

P: Thanks for bringing that up.  That’s a great point.  A couple more terms in step nine are negotiating termination fees. Fees paid for convenience on a decreasing schedule of time. So, the earlier the termination happens in the contract, the more termination fees would need to be made to the vendor. There would be no fees for termination after a certain number of years on a multi-year contract.  I’ve found that to be normal. Would you agree?

S:  I have to admit that I have not negotiated contracts for ongoing maintenance and support, and things that take multi-year.  My experience has been on contracts for implementation, partners, RFP’s where we’re hiring a consultant company to come in.  Basically, it’s within the context of a particular project.

P: In my opinion, this project that I’m talking about, and in most of my experience with vendor transition, has been quite operational.

S: And I think that this perspective is really important to share with our audience because we don’t see much documentation of these types of terms out there. You basically have to have the luxury of having procurement folks on your team in that company, or hire a consultant that will help you negotiate the contract.  That all becomes very costly. But, for small to medium companies that can’t afford that, this is a great opportunity to share with them these types of insights.

P: Exactly. You also need to have an exit management plan which would be the steps followed if you terminate that vendor for convenience or cause. Either way.

Step ten would be to sit down and actually build that statement of work now that you have negotiated all of your terms. Include something about disaster recovery because it’s an operational sort of thing. Include your operational calendar because they vary from country to country – “You’re going to need to operate on these particular days for us because they’re working days for us.” Also, how the assets and resources will be transferred. Of course, (and this is a good project management word) any change control procedures that are relevant for this contract. If changes need to be made to the contract, how? What are the procedures that you need to go through?

Step eleven is holding another steering committee meeting to review the contents of the statement of work, and the results of the negotiation. Very often you’re working with the steering committee during that negotiation anyway. You’ll be hearing, “How much money did they want? Are you kidding?” Ha-ha.

S: There should be no surprises.

P: Exactly. Once you get approval to proceed, then you have to get signatures on the statement of work.  Hopefully that’s not too painful.

S: Usually it is, ha-ha.

P: That’s why I mentioned that. It can be. “I thought you said you were in agreement with this?” they’ll say.

Then implement your transition plan. So, you need to hold status meetings with the vendor, a sort of “How are you doing? Did you hire those people? Are we ready to train?” Finalize your training plan, which should be started earlier in this whole process.  Establish how you are going to test people for readiness. If the transition covers over a quarter end, that might be a good idea for you. Most businesses have certain things that happen at the end of a quarter. That could be part of your transition plan. Have the vendor enter into any subcontracts they need which you have identified earlier in your planning. Complete the bill of sale for any transfers of equipment that need to be done.  Ensure complete transfer of all the leases and licenses that might be applicable.

When those new vendor resources are hired and trained, start moving those processes over one at a time. Another thing I didn’t mention that we included – we were worried that customer satisfaction levels would actually fall off during that transition period where you’re handing off one function at a time from one vendor to the other. It turned out that the company did those customer satisfaction metrics, but they only did them on a monthly basis. That wasn’t frequent enough. So, we implemented a unique way to capture customer satisfaction on a more frequent basis. I’d recommend that too.

S: Now that we have planned and executed our transition plan, what are the key points we need to consider when closing the transition?

P: Obviously, as a good project manager, you want to make sure to capture your lessons learned. Close out any contracts with the previous vendor that might still exist. Make sure any data about your customers that the previous vendor has is removed from their system. Schedule your periodic performance reviews with the new vendor. How are they doing at meeting their SLA’s, etc.

S: Patricia, in closing, what key take-aways would you like our listeners to come away with from our conversation?

P: If you’re managing a project like this, you can have a smooth transition. You can be successful if you treat that current vendor with kid gloves. Use a very personal approach with them. Make sure they understand they have skin in the game. Think this out. Have it really planned out very well. Tell them that you’re going to need their support if they are not selected. Pay a lot of attention to your risk management. Because we did our risk planning up front, brainstormed the ideas and got everybody involved, it dictated the actual plan itself. That worked right into the whole concept of let’s get the business processes documented up front. Let’s put into our plan this shadowing idea, this training from the current vendor to the new vendor. It drove the plan. You can do it.

S: Patricia, tell us a little bit about the type of work you do as part of PLG Consulting and some examples of projects you’re working on these days.

P: As president of PLG Consulting, I provide teaching and consulting services to clients in a wide variety of industries including, software, travel, retail, insurance, financial services, etc. One of my clients is IIL and my most recent project is a vendor transition project, by the way. I gave presentations at the PMI Leadership Institute Meeting and the PMI Congress in October of this year, 2010. I plan to present again at the Congress in 2011.

S: If our listeners want to know more about vendor transition, what resources do you recommend to them?

P: I had some trouble finding some background and reference material for this. I did find a text by Halvey and Melby called Business Process Outsourcing. That’s a book that is not specifically about transitioning, but it has some keys in there for best practices for doing the actual business process outsourcing. That’s what my presentation is all about. A paper that I found that was specific to switching suppliers was by Peterson, Prinsley, and Kalachman called “Second Stage Outsourcing: Keys to Success in Switiching Suppliers.” That I found very helpful. It basically reinforced how we succeeded. It was really hand-in-hand with my experience.

S: So you actually found the paper after you completed the project?

P: Yes.

S: It was a good way to look back and say we did it by the book.

P: Exactly.

S: And how can our listeners find out more about you and contact you?

P: You can find me on LinkedIn, I have a profile there, and my email is

S: Patricia, thank you so much for the valuable insights you’ve shared with us, and giving us your insights on how to effectively and successfully manage vendor transition projects. I find this topic, in general, is not covered in project management literature. We desperately need these types of insights to be out there for new, as well as experienced, project managers to use in their projects. I look forward to a future conversation with you again, Patricia.

P: Thank you very much Samad, the pleasure was mine. I think that you and I have also had an opportunity to share some of our pains and experience together. I’ve enjoyed this very much.

S: Thank you.

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