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15 June 2008 · Article

Reducing risk in complex IT projects requires careful contract drafting

Failed IT projects are often in the news — currently SAP and Waste Management seem to be headed for litigation,1 the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) may spend $40 million or more than budgeted for a payroll system2 and the U.S. Census Bureau may incur billions of extra expenses for the 2010 census because its plans to use handheld computers failed.3
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What role does the contract play in these failures? Are the basic ‘terms and conditions’ at fault or are the specifications and detailed project plan at the root of the failure?
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We may not know until court records or investigative reporters provide detailed stories on the public projects, but experience shows that both parts of the contract can lead to failure for the inexperienced, careless or hasty drafter and negotiator.

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BOB SCHMITT Technology Contracts

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