One thing that causes consternation amongst project managers is the notion of hospital passing. We are taught to get involved early, to manage/guide the project from inception through to cremation, however, the reality of business being what it is and the maturity of (most) organistions is that a sale is a sale, and when the majority of projects arrive at our door, they are a done deal and the champagne is well flat. Certainly this is the reality in most vendor organisations. The poor PM has to then pick up the pieces and make do with, what more times than we would like, is a fait accomplait.
It is certainly in our best interest to influence, based upon historical experience, sales process and preliminary investigation, and we tend to have longer memories than most as to the times when we have been on the receiving end of a poorly thought through delivery contract. I have found that in most organistions the desire to improve, increase profitability, manage and control the sales process may be inherently there, however the positive reinforcement of this best practice is lacking.
This is not a dig at my esteemed colleagues in sales, I think you do a wonderful job, just as a general rule of thumb, the delivery of your efforts resides with us and we, by nature and discipline, follow processes and procedures for a very good reason – that is the ultimate profitability of the assigned engagement. The concept of margin is important to us, P&L, cost, assumptions and risk – these are our tools. The sooner we get our hands on the project the better for all involved as we then can apply our discipline and experience to ultimately improve the outcome of the project. Ideally before the ink is dry (or better yet still in the pen).