Project Management

Preparing for the Exam with PMBOK Guide—Fifth Edition (Part 11): Procurement Management

Following 20 years at a large Canadian telecommunications firm, Bruce established the project management consulting firm Solutions Management Inc (SMI). Since 1999, he has provided contract project/program management services, been a source for project management support personnel and created/delivered courses to over 7,000 participants in Canada, the United States and England.

The PMP bootcamp that I frequently facilitate rightfully highlights that exam takers often find Project Procurement Management to be one of the more difficult knowledge areas to master. While it is no more difficult from an ITTO (Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs) perspective, it can be daunting since many project managers have the luxury of their company having a department that is responsible for the process of finding and securing vendors. As such, they aren’t familiar with the many steps that lead to a successful procurement.

I alleviate these fears by asking class participants to think of what is involved with having a significant renovation completed in their home. Decisions need to be made regarding what the homeowner can do and what they need to have done by a contractor (build or buy decision). They then have to find a contractor (request proposals) and negotiate a contract (conduct procurement). The contractor will have to be watched to ensure the work is done properly (control procurement) and eventually sign off on the completed job (close procurement).

Continuing the theme that preparing for the PMP exam is similar to getting fit, I liken taking on procurement management to doing new exercises. If I’m not familiar with how to do a particular thing at the gym (that looks easy when others do it), I look and feel pretty awkward. There are, …

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