We all agree that projects need things. These things can run the gamut, from pencils to gas turbines. In the past, the corporate function that acquired things for projects was called "purchasing." Its sole role was to do what the title implies — purchase things. As corporate governance evolved, so did the purchasing department into what we now know as procurement.
Today, procurement has to orchestrate the acquisition of hundreds, if not thousands, of things for projects on a daily basis. In addition, this department puts in place policies that keep project managers from purchasing a gas turbine when they need only a pencil.
Traditionally, project managers have viewed procurement departments as a barrier to progress and a constant source of frustration. However, this friction can sometimes be the fault of the project manager, who's not practicing good stakeholder management with procurement team members.
As with any other stakeholder, team members from procurement need to be an integral part of the project team. Let's look at ways to make this happen, as well as the benefits of doing so:
By adopting these practices, you can better leverage the specialized skills of procurement team members — and you just might be able to acquire both pencils and turbines in a manner that will keep your project on schedule.
What methods can you recommend to help integrate procurement into your project team?
Find out more about procurement in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition.
I'm linking the procurement and human resources chapters of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) together for the simple reason that I have absolutely no idea why they're in there in the first place. I have never been in or encountered an organization of any size that lumps human resources and procurement departments under the head of project management.