Contracts and Contracts Management

WHAT IS A CONTRACT? - THE CENTRAL THEME OF BUSINESS
Organizations today operate in an environment of increased competitiveness and change. Successful organizations are those that are effective at change, either through creating new markets or meeting new goals for existing products.
Many companies are unable to accurately estimate, control and improve specific product or contract profit margins, product ship dates, or product quality. Companies know that they need to improve, but with inadequate data they often find themselves unable to prioritize problems, leading to excessive improvement initiatives performed in an unfocused manner.

Companies are left either spending very little money on improvement because they're unsure how to best allocate the money, or are spending a lot of money very ineffectively on numerous improvement efforts going in 20 different directions.

Contracts Best Practice
Best practices can be defined as "those practices that have been shown to produce superior results; selected by a systematic process; and judged as exemplary, good, or successfully demonstrated", these practices are then adapted to fit a particular organisation (American Productivity and Quality Centre, 1997).

The use of best practices, when incorporated within all areas of an organisation, including its stakeholder relationships, can lead to an organisation attaining world class performance. This means that all business relationships are subjected to the laws of contract.

The Law of Contract
Question: I'm starting a new service business that will require signing a contract with both customers and also with vendors. I don't think I can afford a solicitor, but I don't want to find myself in trouble later because my contracts didn't spell out everything clearly. Where can I find help and general contract information?.

The Contract Document Centre for Business Excellence Ltd Centre for Business Excellence Ltd

In practice - Who uses contracts?
Many new business owners find themselves in need of some kind of written contract or agreement to use with customers or clients, vendors and others. First, a word about solicitors in general, You can always locate a solicitor who understands your need to keep your initial start-up costs low and will be willing to work with you in a way that suits your needs, and your budget.

How to Proceed
You should consider creating a rough draft of your proposed contracts and ask that the solicitor review and revise the contents of what you have created for a fee.

You must first compare the cost of providing a draft that has to be significantly revised and hence take more time or request that the solicitor prepare a completed document

The Best Method
One of the best ways to locate solicitor who are accustomed to working with start-ups in this way is to obtain a referral list from your local Chamber of Commerce.

Whether or not you're going to utilize this approach to your contract needs - (ie) part "do it yourself" and part "seek professional advice-" there are a few things about contracts you should know.

The essential elements of a contract agreement are:
1.     The parties to the agreement. In other words, your business name
        and the name of the other party, whether that's a customer or a vendor.

2.     What each party is going to gain from the agreement. This is referred to
        in legal vocabulary as consideration.

3.     The main terms of the contract. For example, what each party is promising
        to do. Obviously, it's extremely important this part of thecontract be very         specific and include such things as the work to be performed, the price to be paid for the work, how and when payment will be made, when the work will be completed, how long the contract will be in effect, and whether the contract is the subject of any warranties or waivers.

4.     Additional terms should probably include: conditions under which         either party can terminate the contract, whether either party can transfer         or assign the contract to another person or company, whether disputes         arising from the contract may be arbitrated or mediated, payment of         solicitor's fees if one party breaches the contract, an address where legal         notices can be sent to each party, and which law applies if questions         about the contract should arise.

5.     Execution. Be sure both parties sign the contract and the person signing
        (if he or she is representing a company) has the authority to sign.

6.     Delivery. Make sure each party receives a copy of the final signed agreement.

7.     Date. This is the date the contract is signed and becomes effective.

Cutting Costs in Contracts Preparation
If you're going to attempt to save some legal fees by drafting contracts on your own, the first step is to gather sample contracts from other people in your industry, your trade or professional association or from contract form books you can find in your local library or from software sources.

What are the common challenges associated with contracts?
The difficulty of incorporating best practices in contract agreements and in actual production of products and / or services recognises many rationales and approaches rather than a specific benchmark. However in terms of a contract agreement "there will still be the need to innovatively and creatively implement the best practices so as to not to fall foul of your contract obiligations

The UK Law of Contract
Although the UK law of Contract is on the face quite straight-forward, because UK LAw is based on "Precedent", in practice it is very complex with no certainties of remedies should the part receiving the contract have reason to take the party that provides the contract to the courts

The UK Law is nothing if not neferaous in that it speaks eloquently and in volumes, but in practice to obtain a just result is extremely difficult and fraught with many dangers of procedure and technicality. It is not unusual to find that you have a case supported by documents and witnesses, and find that you have lossed and have to pay substantial sums in costs because your case was not "in the eyes of the judge" presented correctly, UK Law is not based on the facts of the case.

What is Most Important
Of equal importance is the fact that if you are not a national, taking action against a national could well result in you having to pay substantial damages because you were not savvy to the procedure or technicality or precedent involved, so in all cases involving UK Contract Law, it is advised that you must have legal advice, otherwise do not proceed, no matter how strong you may think your case may be.

WHAT IS A BUSINESS MODEL?
Organizations today operate in an environment of increased competitiveness and change. Successful organizations are those that are effective at change, either through creating new markets or meeting new goals for existing products. Yet many companies are ineffective at change and hampered by poor control of their product development operations.

Many companies are unable to accurately estimate, control and improve specific product or contract profit margins, product ship dates, or product quality. Companies know that they need to improve, but with inadequate data they often find themselves unable to prioritize problems, leading to excessive improvement initiatives performed in an unfocused manner.

Companies are left either spending very little money on improvement because they're unsure how to best allocate the money, or are spending a lot of money very ineffectively on numerous improvement efforts going in 20 different directions.


Capability Maturity Model

WHAT IS THE CAPABILITY MATURITY MODEL?
Organizations today operate in an environment of increased competitiveness and change. Successful organizations are those that are effective at change, either through creating new markets or meeting new goals for existing products. Yet many companies are ineffective at change and hampered by poor control of their product development operations.

Many companies are unable to accurately estimate, control and improve specific product or contract profit margins, product ship dates, or product quality. Companies know that they need to improve, but with inadequate data they often find themselves unable to prioritize problems, leading to excessive improvement initiatives performed in an unfocused manner.

Companies are left either spending very little money on improvement because they're unsure how to best allocate the money, or are spending a lot of money very ineffectively on numerous improvement efforts going in 20 different directions.

Capability Maturity Models (CMMs) are designed to help organizations overcome this problem. They provide an effective and proven method for gradually gaining control of and improving product development processes, a yardstick against which organizations can periodically measure their production process, and data with which to prioritize and manage improvement efforts.

CMMs describe both unique product development practices and the common management practices that any organization must perform. These practices are organized into 5 levels, each level describing increasing control and management of the production environment, starting with ad-hoc performance and culminating in controlled, structured, continuous improvement.

An evaluation of the organization's practices against the model, called an assessment, determines the level, establishing where the organization stands and which management practices the organization should focus on to see the highest return on investment.

There is over ten years of industry data to show that CMMs are an effective process improvement tool with some data showing as much as a $8 return for every $1 invested in CMM based process improvement.



Capability Maturity Models
(CMMs) are designed to help organizations overcome this problem. They provide an effective and proven method for gradually gaining control of and improving product development processes, a yardstick against which organizations can periodically measure their production process, and data with which to prioritize and manage improvement efforts.

CMMs describe both unique product development practices and the common management practices that any organization must perform. These practices are organized into 5 levels, each level describing increasing control and management of the production environment, starting with ad-hoc performance and culminating in controlled, structured, continuous improvement.

An evaluation of the organization's practices against the model, called an assessment, determines the level, establishing where the organization stands and which management practices the organization should focus on to see the highest return on investment.

There is over ten years of industry data to show that CMMs are an effective process improvement tool with some data showing as much as a $8 return for every $1 invested in CMM based process improvement.


How can MINDMANAGER help?
Mindjet’s software, like the pen-and-paper technique that preceded it, is based on more that forty years of research into the way the brain best receives and processes information. Scientists now know that the brain’s left hemisphere processes information using linear, logical, analytic, quantitative, rational, and verbal methods, while the right does so in nonlinear, conceptual, holistic, intuitive, imaginative, and non-verbal ways.

Give yourself and your organization powerful project management tools to develop innovative ideas and manage complex projects and tasks. MindManager Enterprise Edition includes all the powerful project management features of MindManager Business Edition and is optimized for secure server-based conferencing.

While the Business Edition is recommended for peer -to-peer conferences of up to five users per conference, the Enterprise Edition can support server-based conferences with up to 100 users! Empower your project teams and stakeholders to maximize ROI by allowing them to:

The Benefits
Efficiently and accurately capture, develop, and communicate project objectives and details

·    Collaborate on projects securely via server-based conferencing

·    Quickly create, organize and present project scope and key ideas
     to stakeholders

·    Communicate complex processes and tasks for easier comprehension
     and presentation

·    Visually identify important tasks, issues and relationships

·    Focus the project creation and design process for faster implementation

·    Organize tasks, supporting documents, existing resources and materials
     in a single application

Mindmanager Helps You Do Business Better by
*    Developing Business Models that fits your organisation's goals and objectives, it allows you to manage your ideas, projects, goals and deadlines, then seamlessly synchronize this information with Microsoft Project and Outlook.

*    Deliver clear and powerful presentations using it's improved Presentation Mode, or export your ideas to PowerPoint, HTML or Word.

*    Secure communication via new document password protection and secure internet conferencing that allows you to safely share ideas with your team in the office and around the world.

*    Develop ideas on-the-go on your mobile devices, then synchronize your information to your inhouse business activities. - Sign or Not Sign - That is the Question?