Contract management

a strategic impact on project management



By Meriem Harhad

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



A project always starts with a signed contract detailing all expectations and deliverables in order to have the outcomes of the project.

However, the person with specialized skills and know-how in contract management, the contract manager, is not considered as a necessary key role in the project management field.

Indeed, many companies let the project manager manage the contract, even if he has not specialized experience in contract management. That is why contract management is a challenging concern within project management.

To understand, the best way companies can grasp the contract management within their projects and thus analyse how contract management can be handed within a project, we use different methods of quantitative and qualitative analysis and comparison.

Therefore, in this paper we demonstrate that having a dedicated contract manager in your project, and reorganize project’s teams in order to have a contract manager in each project undertaken, is the preferred alternative for running projects, especially large and complex projects, within companies of diverse fields.

Keywords: Contract manager, Success factors, Risk management, Project management, Contract management, Strategic role in project management, Contract’s adjustment, Contract life cycle, Project team organization.


In the main implemented approaches to project management such as PMI, or PRINCE 2, there is no a defined role of a “contract manager” in the organization of the project in neither the management team level nor the executive one. Despite the contract management is a required competency to manage a project.

The contract manager work cannot be defined as to simply write the contract, and following it during the project. The contract life cycle management implies to efficiently manage the analysis of the contract, to minimise risks and maximise performance, which enables to achieve successfully the project. Moreover, as we can see in all project, to have a signed contract with the customer, is the starting point that launches the project and allows to having all customer’s expectations, which are the baseline of the project. Indeed, it permits to have a deep understanding of the products that will be delivered during the project, which is one of the keys to have a successful project. Besides, the project’s progresses can trigger variations and adjustments regarding the initial contract, hence the project is strongly linked to the contract and managing the project well involves to have a well-managed contract.

Therefore, we can consider contract management as a full part of project management. Indeed, for a large project, it has a strategic impact because it can be a part of the solution to complex projects, which makes the contract management a powerful tool for risks management, performance maximisation and communication management in project management

More often than not, the role of the “contract manager, is fulfilled by the project manager itself, but it is not his core competency. That is why we consider that having a person with a specific know-how in contract management, that is totally devoted to this part of the project’s aspect, is a key success factor for the project, and should be considered as a full role in the project team.

  1. Problem definition

To summarize, this research paper has been undertaken to analyse and answer the following questions:

  • What is the role of contract management in project management?
  • How the role of a contract manager create value to the project?
  • Is it worth to have a dedicated contract manager in the project team, and thus reconsider the roles of project team in main project management approaches? Or the project manager must be a contract manager.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Harhad, M. (2018). Contract management: a strategic impact on project management, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue X – October. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/pmwj75-Oct2018-Harhad-contract-management-strategic-impact-on-project-management.pdf


About the Author

Meriem Harhad

Paris, France



Meriem Harhad is a student in SKEMA Business School, in the Master of Science Project and Programme Management and Business Development. She has a bachelor’s degree in management and economy. She has mild experience in business development, in the hospitality industry.