SEC Corpnet director Robert Mancinelli recommends the following measures to ensure you are covered when engaging consultants.
- Break the engagement up into a definitive number of stages that can be closely measured, and to this end establish business and technical performance indicators for the deliverables. This gives you the ability to effectively manage the performance of the consultant before moving on to the next phase. Contracts should be written around these phases, allowing you to be able to terminate the contract in the event that the performance of that stage was not acceptable. This provides you with the ability to be able to address critical performance issues before the project gets out of control.
- Establish contracts that cover areas such as work defects, intellectual property, termination, variations, and such. l Use reference checks as much as possible to ensure that other clients are happy with their work. l Ensure the consultant provides detailed reporting on a consistent basis during the term of the project (both on project deliverables and project expenditure).
- Ensure an accurate scope of work has been included within the contract. This provides you with a documented account of what you are expecting.
- If possible, use consultants that have formal accreditation or membership with consulting institutes (such as the Institute of Management Consultants). These members are vetted for professionalism, integrity and ability, and are bound by certain ethical guidelines for the provision of services.
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