Four Practical Ways to Improve Project Procurements

2=Planning, 4=Control, 5=Closing

As we initiate our projects, we may find that our organization lacks the skills and knowledge to create the project deliverables and meet the project objectives. In other cases, we may need products outside of our organization. Project managers use procurement management to secure these needed products and services.

picture of someone signing an agreement

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) says that Project Procurement Management “includes the processes necessary to purchase or acquire products, services, or results needed from outside the project team.” Our ability to find and procure the right resources at the right time will enhance our chance for success. 

Project Procurement Management

1. Develop a Procurement Management Plan

So, how can we improve our project procurements? Start by developing a Procurement Management Plan. The plan describes your approach to acquiring the necessary products and services from outside organizations. This plan may include things such as:

  • Types of contracts
  • Procurement process and documents
  • How you will identify sellers
  • How you will evaluate and select the sellers
  • Who will be involved in the evaluation process
  • Who will execute the agreements
  • Constraints and assumptions
  • How you will handle decisions such as make or buy

2. Conduct the Procurements

Next, conduct the procurements. That is to say, obtain the seller responses, select a seller, and award a contract. Imagine that your organization—a property and casualty insurance carrier—has undertaken a program to replace the legacy systems with a modern suite of insurance applications including the policy administration, claims, and billing. You could take the following steps:

  1. Identify ten vendors
  2. Send a Request for Information (RFI) to the ten vendors
  3. Receive and analyze RFI responses using selection criteria
  4. Select the top three vendors
  5. Send a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the top three vendors
  6. Receive and analyze the RFP responses using selection criteria
  7. Have the top three vendors show demos of their applications to organizational stakeholders
  8. Select a vendor for a proof of concept
  9. Have the top vendor set up an environment where users could experiment with the applications
  10. If applications meet the business, user, and software requirements, award the contract to the vendor

3. Control the Procurements

Furthermore, control the procurements. Per the terms of the agreement, the buyer and the seller work together to meet the procurement requirements. Project managers must be diligent in this process. Otherwise, dates may be missed and issues may surface.

4. Close the Procurements

Lastly, close the procurements. It is easy to overlook the final procurement activities when a project comes to a close. Here we:

  • Make sure all the terms and conditions have been met
  • Conduct necessary audits
  • Address any open claims
  • Update our documentation and records
  • Make final payments to seller
  • Notify the seller with a written notice that the contract has been completed
  • Update procurement templates and processes for use in future projects
  • Conduct lessons learned
  • Archive the procurement documents with other project documentation

Not Involved in the Procurement?

Often times the procurements are handled by an individual or group other than the project manager. It is best that the project manager is engaged in the procurement processes, even if they are not responsible for conducting the procurements. The project manager can help identify, evaluate, respond to, and control the project risks of using the outside products and services.

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About the author 

Harry Hall

My name is Harry Hall and I'm the guy behind the and the author of The Purpose Driven Project Manager. Risks can derail projects, resulting in challenged and sometimes failed projects. I make project risk management easy to understand and practical to apply, putting project managers in drivers seat.

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