Blog post

Buying Gone Out of Bounds

By Hank Barnes | February 22, 2022 | 0 Comments


Song parody time.     As we continue to review our latest buying data and share it with clients, we see a repeating issue.   And that is Surprises.   We looked for situations, again, where there were surprise steps in the buying process that team members did not know they had to take (Remember, this is for the biggest technology purchase folks were involved with).  For those that met our high quality deal criteria, only 7% experienced significant delays (more than 1 month) and 36% experienced moderate delays from these steps.  But for the “non-HQDs” 33% experienced significant delays and 44% experienced moderate delays.  This is worse than what we saw last time.  I suspect this relates to both the continued democratization of decision making and changing practices related to the pandemic.

But surprises aren’t limited to a company’s own challenges.  Vendors play a role to0.   We added a new set of questions (actually asking respondents their level of agreement/disagreement with a set of statements) about the transition from buying to owning–i.e. what happened after the contract was signed.   The surprise statement here was “There were surprises during implementation that the provider did not disclose during buying.”  For our HQDs, 70% of respondents disagreed with that statement.  For the non-HQDs, 77% agreed with the statement.  77%!

We’ll be diving into the causes of this, but this led me to wonder.  “Who’s to Blame?”   Which immediately led my strange brain to a classic (at least in my opinion and that of my high school friends’–shoutout to David Guthrie) B-52’s song –  “Party Out of Bounds.”    Ultimately, as I look at things, the unmeasured impact of buying challenges is on the morale of the members of the team involved in buying.  They spend parts of their work day for months trying to make a good decision only to be confronted by conflict, surprises, and delays.    In the time of the Great Resignation, I also would not be surprised if those involved in a frustrating buying experience–both internally and with vendors–might be among the first to go.   The difference between effective and ineffective teams is noticeable and fixable.   More on that later.

But here you go.  “Tech Buying Out of Bounds” (and here is the original –

Tech Buyyyyyiiinng!
Yeah, we just thought we’d drop in!
Where’s your requirements?
hey, what’s the goal?
Ew, buy-a-tosis!

Who’s to blame when buying really gets out of hand?
Who’s to blame when decisions get poorly planned?


Team Members get down, conflicts make a mess
You know sometimes they’ll even ruin your invest
Team getttin’ down
Who’s to blame?
Can you pull it back in line?
Can you salvage it in time?
What can you do to save your buying?
Align, Refine?
A spur-of-the-moment POC
Or Game of Denial? (aah, who changed the scope again?)

Down, Team gettin’ down
Team gettin’ down, down, down, down, now, who’s to blame?

Who’s to blame when decision makers ignore your work?
Occasionally participate and pontificate


Vendors don’t respond, they play silly games
You know, it could ruin your brain
Team gettin’ down
Who’s to blame?
Can you pull it back in line?
Can you salvage it in time?


It shouldn’t be difficult!
Try not to condemn!
Okay, who added new rules?
Be thorough when making your plans
Be focused when reviewing your options and maybe
You can save buying gone out of bounds (buying gone out of bounds)
Buying gone out of bounds (gone out of bounds)
Buying gone out of bounds
Gone out of bounds


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