“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
Contracts are indispensable in the world of modern business, influencing up to 80% of global business transactions. This spells a serious responsibility for you as a contract managers, given the critical nature of your job.
If you discharge your duties well, you could achieve a massive 9% savings on your company’s annual revenue. To hit such goals as a contract manager, you’ll need to ensure your contract management skills and industry knowledge are consistently updated.
Good news is, with so many contract management training programs and resources available today, staying on top of your game has become easier.
In this guide, we will explore some of the best contract management courses, books, programs, and in-house training around, so you can start leveling up immediately!
Online courses for contract management
There are many online courses that cover contract management basics, best practices, and advanced topics. These contract management courses are often self-paced and can be accessed from anywhere, making them a great option for busy professionals.
#1 Contract Management Training by Knowledge Academy
Knowledge Academy’s contract management training focuses on providing in-depth knowledge of contract management and all related concepts, including contract laws and negotiation strategies.
Specifically, the training comes in seven packages:
- Contract Management
- Business Contract Law
- Contract Negotiation
- Intellectual Property
- Specification and Service Level Agreement
- Commercial Contract Management
The contract management courses are self-paced, with estimates for completion time varying between 8 and 16 hours.
Pricing: Knowledge Academy prices individual courses at $113, while the complete package goes for $2,356.
Certification and Examinations: Knowledge Academy doesn’t require homework and exams. But it offers a certificate upon completion.
#2 Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business
Hosted on Future Learn, Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business is a three-week course on the fundamentals of business contracts. It explores the concept of contract management and how you can build long-term business relationships through successful contracts.
The contract management course is developed by the University of Southampton in collaboration with World Contracting and Commerce (WCC). It is endorsed by the Crown Commercial Service and funded by Civil Service Learning.
Pricing: This course is available for free.
Certification: While you can take the contract management course for free, getting a certificate of completion costs $90.
#3 Complete Contract Management Bootcamp
This is the most popular contract management course on Udemy. It is a 5-hour self-paced course that covers the key and most essential concepts of contract management.
The course is in-depth, exploring areas like claims, change management, dispute resolution, insurance, contract administration manuals, and more.
Nasdaq, Box, Eventbrite, and Volkswagen are among the top companies that offer this course to their employees.
Pricing: This course costs $40, but first-time visitors usually get up to an 80% discount.
Certification: The program offers a certificate of completion through Udemy, its host platform.
Industry associations to learn contract management
World Contracting and Commerce (WCC) and National Contract Management Association (NCMA) are two of the most recognized industry associations that offer contract management resources, such as webinars, conferences, and certification programs.
These associations provide networking opportunities, insights into industry trends, and best practices in contract management.
Unlike online courses which are typically available to everyone, resources created by these industry associations are usually restricted to members, or made accessible to non-members at higher prices, as you’ll find below.
Furthermore, certifications from industry associations are typicallyconsidered more reputable than most online courses. Thus, they’re usually more expensive.
#1 National Contract Management Association (NCMA)
Founded in 1959, NCMA is an association dedicated to helping aspiring and experienced managers gain access to requisite contract management resources and opportunities for growth in the industry.
This is done through education, networking, accreditation, regulatory alerts, awards, job postings, publications, and more.
NCMA offers four contract management certifications, namely:
- Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM)
- Certified Federal Contract Manager (CFCM)
- Certified Commercial Contract Manager (CCCM)
- Certified Contract Management Associate (CCMA)
CCMA is applicable to beginners, while CPCM applies to contract managers with proven industry experience.
Pricing: CCMA costs $90 for members and $295 for non-members. CCCM costs $165 for members and $365 for non-members. CFCM costs $165 for members and $365 for non-members. Finally, CPCM costs $225 for members and $425 for non-members.
Each certification requires an additional examination fee of $135 for US residents and $165 for non-US residents.
#2 World Contracting and Commerce (WCC)
WCC is a renowned international organization that aims to enhance knowledge sharing, promote ethical business practices, and provide networking opportunities for professionals involved in contracting and commerce.
It does this by offering various commercial and contract management resources, like events, conferences, coaching sessions, and certification programs.
WCC offers four core certification programs for contract managers at all levels:
- Fundamentals of Commercial and Contract Management (Beginners)
- Commercial and Contract Management (CCM) (Advanced)
- Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) (Advanced)
- Modern Procurement Series
WCC's certifications are recognized in over 160 countries globally.
Pricing: Fundamentals of Commercial and Contract Management costs $365. CCM starts at $995. SRM starts from $1395. Furthermore, Modern Procurement Series begins at $800.
Books and Publications
There are many books and publications available on contract management that cover topics such as contract negotiation, risk management, and contract administration. These resources provide in-depth knowledge and insights into the world of contract management.
Furthermore, books offer unique perspectives and thought leadership into specific topics. So, combining these with online courses, industry association programs, and other contract management resources is recommended to enhance your knowledge and expertise.
Ten Things is a blog run by Sterling Miller, a renowned General Counsel who has been in the industry for over 20 years. On Ten Things, Sterling regularly documents his thoughts and experiences about crucial topics and lessons he’d learned throughout his decades of practice as a General Counsel.
He covers areas like contract management, business skills for in-house legal teams, legal tech, and much more.
If you're a regular SpotDraft Blog reader, you must've seen us posting quotes from one of his many thought-leadership articles. As a matter of fact, here's what he says about training!
"Before you accept a manager role, ask what resources are available to you to help you learn and/or hone your managerial skills. While this may be a blow to your ego, You will be surprised at how much you don't know and be grateful for gaining skills that will serve you well in the role."
—Sterling Miller, CEO and GC at Hilgers Graben PLLC
Ten Things: How to Manage People and Lawyers
#2 Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Authored by former FBI negotiator Chris Voss and journalist Tahl Raz, Never Split the Difference is a book that offers a unique and unconventional approach to business negotiation.
It challenges traditional negotiation tactics and presents principles and strategies that can be applied in high-stakes negotiations to achieve better outcomes.
The book covers topics such as active listening, empathy, calibrated questions, and rapport-building and provides practical advice on how to use these skills to gain an advantage in negotiations.
Throughout the book, Voss draws on his extensive experience handling negotiations for the FBI and his work as a consultant to provide real-life examples and practical exercises you can apply in contract negotiations.
#3 The Tech Contracts Handbook
Authored by David Tollen, The Tech Contracts Handbook is a practical guide to understanding and negotiating technology contracts.
The book is aimed at lawyers and businesspeople navigating complex IT contracts, such as cloud computing agreements and software licenses. The latest edition includes updated content on new developments in technology law, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Some key topics it covers include intellectual property, data protection, and dispute resolution, providing practical tips and checklists for negotiating and drafting effective contracts.
With its clear writing style and practical advice, The Tech Contracts Handbook is an invaluable resource for anyone involved in technology contracting.
#4 Contract Management for Non-Specialists: A Bite-Sized Business Book
Contract Management for Non-Specialists by Paul Davies is a concise guide to contract management for business professionals who do not have a legal background.
The book provides a clear overview of the contract management process, covering key topics such as contract formation, negotiation, implementation, and termination in under 40 pages.
It includes practical tips and real-life examples to help you understand the importance of effective contract management in business operations.
#5 Contract and Risk Management for Supply Chain Management Professionals
Contract and Risk Management for Supply Chain Management Professionals blends practical strategies with general legal principles for professionals managing complex commercial contracts.
It covers everything from pricing and negotiation to change management and termination, with particular attention given to best practices for upholding the integrity of business processes and contracts.
In addition to the above, the CEO of SpotDraft, Shashank Bijapur, listed some of his favorite resources for GCs and in-house counsels in his LinkedIn post. These are worth checking out, so I’ve outlined them below for easy access.
- Bloomberg Law In-House Counsel Blog
- Three Geeks and a Law Blog
- Adams on Contract Drafting
- Today’s GC Resources
- Legal Mosaic Blog
- Deal Lawyers
- Contract Nerds
- Above the Law
Other legal professionals also offered their input in response to Shashank’s LinkedIn post, mentioning their favorite resources. I’ve collated and listed some of them below for you as well!
Feel free to check the post on LinkedIn to see what other in-house legal professionals are reading.
Software and Tools
Contract management software and tools can help businesses automate and streamline their contract management processes. Many of these tools also offer training and support to help users get the most out of their software.
SpotDraft, for instance, prioritizes helping in-house legal counsels stay up-to-date with current contract management trends and strategies. This is done via:
- Live events
- SME interviews
- Video tutorials
- Downloadable assets
- Product demos
Additionally, SpotDraft offers a dedicated customer support team that delivers prompt assistance with questions or challenges that may arise while using its tools for contract management.
For businesses with a larger team, in-house training can be a great option. This allows them to tailor training to their specific needs and ensure all team members are on the same page.
Pricing for this kind of training is usually customized based on individual objectives.
There are several organizations offering in-house training on contract management. We’ll discuss a few below.
#1 The College of Contract Management (CCM)
The CCM is a UK-based institution that focuses solely on providing bespoke, in-house contract management training for individuals and businesses.
While the institute is HQed in the UK, it does offer training services globally for specific programs.
Some of its global programs include:
- Site contract management and change management
- Risk management
- Claims Preparation and Dispute Management
- FIDIC contract management and more
#2 Diploma in Contract Management
Delivered by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the diploma in contract management is a 9-month program that runs you through contemporary contract management theories and best practices.
The course content dives into various aspects of contract management, such as contract law, procurement, negotiation, risk management, and contract administration.
It comes with a certification—CIPFA Diploma in Contract Management—that is awarded after the successful completion of assignments and exams.
CIPFA delivers its contract management training in-house and through an online learning portal. You can simply reach out to the team to make arrangements for in-house training anytime.
#3 World Contracting and Commerce (WCC)
WCC holds a wide variety of contract management training programs, as already discussed.
Alongside delivery through its dedicated learning portals, WCC also offers bespoke, in-house training for Fundamentals of Commercial and Contract Management and the advanced Commercial and Contract Management program.
Choosing the right training for yourself and your team
Several things go into selecting the contract management training and resources that are right for you. Here are a few pointers to note:
#1 Get lower-priced courses or books if you're on a lean budget
Contract management training and resources come in a wide variety of prices. Consider getting lower-priced courses or books if you're on a lean budget. There are also free resources like blogs, social media channels, and YouTube videos you can leverage to stay up-to-date and sharpen your skills.
#2 Choose according to your learning style
Do you prefer to internalize your contract management training through videos, books, live workshops, or customized in-house programs? The training programs and resources we covered here encompass all relevant delivery styles. So you can choose the one that best fits your requirements.
#3 Consider the time you can set aside for the training
Some online courses run for a few hours, while others go for several months. Your choice will depend on how deep you want to go, the quality of your required certification, and how much time you can set aside for the training.
#4 Select programs that have reputable certifications
Some of the programs discussed in this guide have reputable certifications. However, there is no universal certificate required for contract management. That said, a certificate may be an added advantage in some organizations. So you may want to consider programs with reputable certifications.
#5 Know what your current schedule permits: strict plan or self-paced
What’s the contract management training schedule like? Is it self-paced? Or are you required to follow a strict plan?
In some cases, following a strict schedule might be better. However, extremely busy professionals may use self-paced training so they can take them in their free time. Knowing what your current work schedule permits will help you decide which one's better for you.
#6 Consider specialized or comprehensive courses
There are several aspects to contract management: Risk management, procurement management, contract negotiation, contract laws, business ethics, and more.
While some courses cover everything you need, others focus on specific areas. If you want to master a particular area of contract management, you might want to consider specialized courses. But if you need a broad knowledge of contract management, you may be better off with more comprehensive programs and resources.
Ramping up your skills as a contract manager is the best way to stay abreast with the rapidly changing and challenging world of contract management.
It is the only way you stay on track as you advance in your career. I hope this guide has given you the insight you need on what contract management training and resources you can use to get more productive and increase your success rates.