How To Deal With Management
Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
How To Deal With Management
The Inventive Journey
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um definitely document document document um whether it's um you know keeping a schedule for your project and documenting the tasks that you're completing or keeping a tracker of you the life cycle of your contracts whatever it is spend that little bit of extra time to document the the work that you're doing the completion of these tasks because in the end that is going to save you so much effort and time money it's all going to be a huge savings um and and savings of frustration i would say [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups and seven and eight figure businesses as well as a founder and ceo of miller ip law we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great expert episode and we'll uh where we'll having angela thurman on and as a quick introduction to a little bit about what we'll be talking about is a lot to do with management now management can mean a lot of things so it's going to be more about contracts related to supplier management and contract life cycles and dealing with right-of-ways and supply chain management and flow charts and cheat sheets for contracts and uh probably there are several other things but with that much is a brief introduction what we're going to be talking about welcome on the podcast angela well thank you devon i'm very happy to be here thank you so much absolutely so i gave just a brief introduction as to some of the things we'll be talking about but before we uh dive into the topic at hand maybe if you can just take a couple minutes and introduce yourself a bit to the audience and let them know why you're an expert on the episode or on the area great thank you so i am the um principal managing director for thurman co i am um a uh sort of a a boutique uh project management firm in houston and i am a certified project management professional with about 30 years of project management experience primarily in aerospace and telecommunications so i had the luxury of being trained in project management early in my career at nasa by dr harold kirschner who is recognized in the community is probably the godfather of modern project management theory he literally wrote the book and i have that book on my shelf so very very lucky to be trained by dr kirschner and and then to apply those skills uh to project management in the um space station program um way way back in in my career and then since then i've continued to work in technical program management um in in telecommunications and in aerospace most recently uh 10 years for a major u.s aerospace company dealing in supply chain issues risk assessment and um i did apply a lot of that to contracts contract management and um risk assessment and um and and then of course the technical uh skills as i am a degree engineer so now no i think that's a great background and with that as much as an introduction let's dive into the the topic at hand so one question i would assume people will probably have is you know why do i need project management why do i need contract management hey one thing is i manage projects just fine and if i have a contract we review it and we sign it and that's the end of it right so kind of give people ideas to what they should be thinking about what they should be looking about and to a degree why they should care about this area of their business to make sure that they're it's done right sure so um so projects are are defined as a temporal uh event they have a start and a finish date in aerospace and in telecom however those events can last a very long time 20 30 40 years and so for both the project and the contract you're looking at something that can last for an entire career and oftentimes may be handed off from one person to another person it's unlikely that one project manager or one product manager is going to be responsible for that project for the entire time so you're going to want to have someone who has a good strong background in project management or contract management so that you are assured of having all of the documentation captured archived organized and easily accessible for the entire team as it gets passed along from one person to the next as rules change in the project team that would be one reason and then project management is is not an easy thing if you're going to do it well and that's why we have a very robust examination to become a certified project management professional in order to become a pmp you have to show a lengthy history of a project management um a skill and and then you have to sit for a very difficult exam that most people study for um for months and um so it's it's uh it's it's not something that you just decide oh i'm going to be a project manager and and then voila you are so um yeah it's it's um it's a rigorous um training now let me kind of follow up with one question because a lot of our audience is going to be startups small businesses people just getting into it they may not be able to go through all the training they may not have some you know have the bandwidth to hire someone at this point and definitely understand that as they grow and as they get bigger it's a great area that they should be convey you know they should be looking into but i'm here to say okay you know i i don't like project you know projects are hard to manage you know i don't always do a good job or i don't keep on top of things or i don't you know know how to go about doing this because i don't have that formal training what are the best ways to you know aside from hiring someone that's awesome and trained and knows what they're doing if you're at an earlier stage on what are some of the things that you should be looking about or thinking about or resources to be looking into or how do you get going with understanding how to at least at a minimalistic level pursue project management so there are some very good courses that are available um for free um that you can you can train um linkedin learning offers some really really good courses so um and and routinely they make these available to the public bonnie biafor is highly recognized and recommended as a as a project management trainer i would also recommend that you get connected with your local project management institute or pmi chapter and most um most chapters will have a a list of people that are willing to do a certain amount of pro bono work because every pmp member has a a set number of hours of professional development that we continue to work on um throughout our career and some of that is is in giving back to the community so maybe you can get a pmi member who is a pmp to um to help with a with a small project or to help you set up some templates or there are templates available for free from pmi or other resources microsoft has an excellent software tool um just called microsoft project it is rather complicated if you're not a project management professional but um if you um if you dedicate yourself to learning the tool um you can definitely um make your way and and that is is one good resource i would recommend there are lots of other tools available as well no i think that that sounds great and definitely it's always good to have those tools to have a place to start as you're learning now shifting gears just a bit and it kind of goes along with project management but there's also what you know people maybe at least vaguely familiar with which is supply chain management or you know those type of things where they're saying okay i have to not you know if you're in a business where you're using third parties you're using vendors you're having suppliers and that type of thing you're not only having to and it can be whether it's a huge business you have a whole bunch of suppliers or you have a couple of suppliers but you're you know having to manage that supply chain and you know that's where as you get into a lot of cobid you're seeing that that's that's had a major impact on supply chains right in the sense that you're suing everything everything from you know i was going into it as a complete aside but was going into having my bike fixed the other day and went into the by a local bike shop and they do an awesome job and i was talking with about them as they're they're doing a bit of tune-up and some work on the bike and you know asking them how the business going they say well the uh you know services side is going great we have you know a lot of people that are doing biking and needing or wanting things fixed up and done on the sales side we can't keep our bikes in you know even as us as vendors we order something it's probably two or two and a half years out before we're going to get it because the supply chain is so disruptive so you know that one's certainly a difficult thing that even if it's not especially if it's coping but even if it's not in the copic time period where you're having to manage your supply chain and make sure that you have the research sources you need to run your business so with that as a backdrop you know if you're looking at using other vendors you do have a supply chain you're not just purely a service based business what are some of the things how should you go about managing your supply chain what you what should you be talking or thinking about what contracts should you be thinking about if you're reviewing it kind of give us a bit of a an overview or a summary of uh what they or what people should be looking at okay so supply chain um assessment is it's all a and supply chain management is all about risk assessment so you have to consider your business your business model and your appetite for risk so um some companies and some managers may be more risk averse than others and so if you are a very risk-averse company then you're going to want to have redundancy in your supply chain as much as possible that may not always be possible so you're going to look for things like and some of it will depend on your customers and what the technical requirements and flow downs are and what sort of quality requirements and certifications they may have flowed down so in aerospace that's that's there are lots and lots of regulatory requirements that are flowed down in automotive there's also lots of regulatory slowdowns many many industries pharma food those are all highly regulated industries i'm hard pressed to think of an industry that's not um highly regulated today but um so those are some of the considerations in your supply chain management um you're going to want to think about what is the um the system that you have in place your erp system your mrp system that you have in place to manage your supply chain now for those just just jumping in for those artists really erp nmrp what do those stand for and what are them inner pot enterprise um gosh now you put me on the spot um even if you don't remember the acronym what are they or they are the they are the systems that the the um the company has in place to manage um inventory production purchase orders deliveries those sorts of things so they they may be from a company like sap or microsoft or oracle something like that there would be a big um the big core of your financial reporting and inventory management that sort of thing that makes sense so now one one additional kind of question or a question or follow-up to that is you know supply chains a lot of people if you're if you're a startup small business maybe this is your first foray into it you know you go everything for you google someone online you ask for recommendations you go to a facebook group you go to an alibaba and you know find someone that see that says that they can provide no is there anything that are red flags when you're looking for whether it's reviewing contracts or setting up a supply chain that you should be saying hey these are things that if it comes up you should avoid and or maybe on the opposite if there are things that you're saying hey this is a good indication that it will be a good supplier anything of that nature oh you want to be able to know can i can i visit the supplier can i go conduct a site visit and and view for myself their the the quality of the product that they produce can um can i see um their production line and and and can i evaluate for myself all of the areas of risk that are hot buttons for me so um if if on-time delivery is a is a big hot button for me can they show me a history of their on-time delivery for their customers and can that somehow be validated or if um if um whether or not they have um the the appropriate certifications to produce a particular type of product is crucial do they have those certifications and can i validate that those are the types of things that you would want to be able to to vet for yourself and and there are lots of um uh organizations that can help you with that information no it definitely sounds like those are some good points i mean it sounds like to a little bit make sure you can they can check in don't just take their word for it check to make sure they can actually deliver what they've done have they done certifications can you actually go and see the work do they let you come on site those are things that they're saying no don't worry about it we don't need to be certified or oh you know maybe we don't need you to come on site we'll we can send you pictures if they're uncomfortable then that sounds like those are a few red flags that you should be thinking about is okay these ones may not be the best supply or supplier supply chain and we may want to see if there are other options or better options to that yes yes if they won't tell you who their suppliers are you know counterfeit parts can be a huge issue so you you may need to be able to prove the uh origin of the parts throughout the entire supply chain um and so that might be something that you would want to investigate no i think that's a great thing especially when you're going forward and some countries are great and very strict if you go to the eu generally they're going to be better be going to some other countries you know they may be making the part for the actual manufacturer then they make it for you know make a knockoff that you can't even distinguish it but they don't have the rights of the license or authority to make those parts for to sell them to you and it can create a big big issue a legal issue for you as that becomes or comes about or if it gets discovered so i think that's another great point now one of the now one of the other things that we talked about shifting gears just a little bit back to maybe the contracts issue is another thing you mentioned is kind of to have you know a flowchart of the contracts and kind of keep a table now what is there you know if what is the reason because i could see you know it's definitely if you're on a bigger scale and you're a huge company and you know you have a lot of contracts and somebody leaves you're going to want to keep that continuity which definitely makes sense but it seems like a lot of that is even applicable on a on a smaller earth scale because even you know if you're a startup or small business a lot of times you hopefully you have a contract sometimes they don't even have one but if they have a contract oftentimes it gets lost or people don't know where it is or you know what it says and so kind of maybe to walk people through a little bit talk people through how they should be managing their contracts how they should organize them and what they should be kind of putting in that cheat sheet or that you know spreadsheet so to speak that helps them to manage you know they're having multiple contracts sure so i i definitely recommend something as simple as a spreadsheet to just maintain the life cycle management of your contract because if you do have a contract for with a supplier who is for a program um or project that's going to last 10 years or more and roles are going to change um there you know change is inevitable and it's likely that you're going to have additional scope or some sort of changes requested by your customer so maybe they've been ordering this box and and it's always been black it's always been black but now they're going to order the box um with a special designer brown version and so now you've got the scope change that in addition to the black that we're going to continue to order we're now going to offer the box in a designer brown so um you need to have um number one you need to have a part number for the brown box you need to start ordering brown paint so you've got to have an order to your supplier for brown paint and you're going to have to modify your contract with your supplier to to order brown paint so your contract needs to have some sort of amendment or some sort of modification to start you got to have a price for brown paint and purchase orders for brown paint now so that needs to be reflected in your supplier contract with the paint supplier somehow and so that you in your main contract uh cheat sheet whatever your cheat sheet is just have some sort of update that says you know amendment one we're now going to order brown paint and it's because the customer wants to offer designer brown boxes and that you know maybe that's all you need not a whole lot more but if ever someone um you know came on new to the team they would understand oh well that's what that amendment's for and it could be something as simple as that now lots of times it's much more complicated that's a very simple example but uh but that gives you a description of why you might want something like this no i think that's a great example because you know i'd almost both on the more complex hey why did they change this what is this even referring to i think that that is good to be captured because everybody always thinks oh we'll remember and sometimes you don't remember yourself but more even so you may change positions people come and go their side come and goes and you know you saw it can be difficult to remember why you made the modifications now all asking i know the answer is an attorney but i'll keep my my answer to or at bay for a minute which is you know give the the simple example you know we want to have a change in paint color the box color or the construction or something simple is that something if you're modifying the agreement that you need to go to an attorney every time and that you should you know because that's what the fear people have is oh it's a minor tweak or modification we don't need to adjust agreement it'll be fine everybody will remember i'm sure they'll pay for it and we're probably already covered under the agreement anyway and so let's not worry about it and we'll just continue on is that a i have my biased opinion but i'll ask you for is that a good frame of mind should they just not worry about it if it's a minor that is a foreign idea just remembering and hoping that everybody will be fair and remember to pay is never a good idea if there are any changes the best solution is to document it just just so you can you can have it in writing and you can um you can have it to go back to in the in the future and say oh well now we want blue well here's how much it cost when we had brown so blue probably is about the same so or maybe it's a little bit more but you can have a point of reference and yeah never rely on the memory of anyone especially if that person may leave the company no i think that's you know now that was going to be my biased answer as well but you know i get it on the one hand that people are saying oh i don't want to have to go spend enough money on an attorney and i don't want to have to redo it and have it resigned or updated or anything else so we're just not going to worry about it so it is a natural human you know tendency to just if it's going to be a lot of work and you don't want to do it then you'll just kind of pretend it's not there push it aside but i think that that you know one of the things is if you're having a good system that's already tracking your contracts and you have it organized whether it's cheat sheet in your spreadsheet and you know have a a document kind of repository then it makes it easy to hey we'll just simply go in make that my you know if it isn't or a major modification but even a minor modification to the agreement and then we're going to be able to use that same document you know we can have an attorney if it's changing the color box from black to blue or you know something of that nature you can probably change out that one word without an attorney sign it or review it but even if you don't if you have the repository if you have a good description what it is it reduce your quad or cost quite a bit because now you're not having the attorney review everything it's just that narrow part so i think that that's definitely yet another motivation and reason why people would want to track what they're doing manage the contracts and then otherwise have them in good order because it saves a lot of headache asking the ball which for every business that evolves over time people come and go people leave people forget things people conveniently forget things when it's not they're not favorable to them anymore and it's much easier to keep track of that and i one parting thought on that is i wouldn't leave it to people's memories and i also wouldn't leave it to an email an email is not the same thing as a contract it's better than nothing i guess if you're not going to get something in writing but you're definitely going to want to anything that's not in writing and agreed to people it does for legal purposes really doesn't count so now we've covered a few things i'll go ahead i could if if you're thinking about the costs involved to to make that modification yes there there will be some time spent on that but think about the cost you're avoiding if you don't do it and then two years later someone refuses to pay a bill and they're like well why why did this shipment of 20 boxes cost you know 15 extra and it you know that's more than we've ever paid before and we're not going to pay this invoice now and someone is having to chase down and they spend a week trying to find out why these 20 boxes cost 15 dollars more and and all the time that would be invested to recover the information that if you had just taken the time to make that modification all of that effort could have been avoided no i think that that's them and that's that's almost best case scenario in the sense that you may just take you some time save to chase down why it is and then people will say oh yeah i remember worst case scenario would say no we never agreed to that we didn't understand that and now you're stuck trying to either force them to pay what you you know the cost that you just ate in order to make the change or you're having to go to court or you're having to do something you know that's going to affect the business so i think that in all friends it saves time on the front end that you're able to easily recall it and it also saves you some legal hassles uh potentially down the road it supports the relationship exactly no i agree it makes it really makes your relationship better because now it's not people on their side now feeling like the tab is just running up or they don't remember why it on your side it makes it so you're saying hey we agreed to this remember and then like oh yeah okay that's that's fair we did agree to it so i i totally agree well we have covered or several topics and i'm sure we could talk a lot a lot longer on them but as we're wrapping towards the end of the podcast i always like to ask one question the end of expert episodes because you know we talk about a lot of things everything from contract management supply chain project management you know contracts all of those different things and you know you're going to listen to this and you'll say oh there's a lot of things i should be doing that i probably i probably need to be but i don't know where to start and i can't i can't do them all today so to speak so talking to that if there's one takeaway if people can only get started on one thing today that would make an improvement or make it have the most impact what would that one thing be um definitely document document document um whether it's um you know keeping a schedule for your project and documenting the tasks that you're completing or keeping a tracker of you the life cycle of your contracts whatever it is spend that little bit of extra time to document the the work that you're doing the completion of these tasks um because in the end that is going to save you so much um effort and time money it's all going to be a huge savings um and and and savings of frustration i would say so um definitely take that extra moment um invest that extra half hour to just make sure that um that you've documented um the work that you're doing all the good that you're doing um and and and make the most of it and if you need a project manager to do that then either become one hire one find one but it's it's really not something that is beyond the the capabilities of the average person yeah i think that is great piece of advice you know it seems simple on this but yet every time people get busy and then you don't do it and it is definitely worthwhile the investment i think that's a great great takeaway as to if you could just get started on one thing at least get a system in place document it and keep track of things because it saves you a lot of time and headache and potentially legal issues in the future so with that as we wrap up the podcast that people want to reach out to they want to uh be a customer they want to be a client they want to pick your brain they want to get more information they want to you know be an investor in a greater business you're going to start or or they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more my website is www.thurmanco.com so t h u r m a n c o dot com all right well i definitely encourage uh everybody to reach out contact you find out more and if nothing else make a new best friend so with that um as we wrap up thank you again angela for coming on the podcast now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell or your own expertise to share feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show two more things as listeners one make sure to click subscribe and your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so everyone else everyone else can find out about all of our awesome episodes last but not least you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else with your business just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time within the chat thanks again angela and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you [Music]