Project Management

The Money Files

A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from

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3 Ways To Be More Strategic As a Project Manager

Introducing The Public Sector Advisory Community for Estimating

Setting Up Programme Budget Tracking

Quick Tips for the Testing Phase

Programme Management: Planning Your Finances

What to check with your project supplier (before you start working together) [Video]

How much do you really know about that supplier you are thinking of using on your project? They’ve sent you a quote, and you’ve got a nice glossy presentation with photos of their account managers, but what’s it really going to be like?

In this video I share some of the things I’ve found important when starting a relationship with a new third party – in fact, before the relationship even gets going it’s important to ask these questions.

If you prefer to read, there’s an article here on what to check before you sign on the dotted line: What you need to know about your supplier.

If you’re a video kind of person, and you want to hear my personal experience, then click Play on the video below! Let me know in the comments under the video what else you consider when you are assessing what organisations to partner with for project delivery. I’m sure you’ve got some great stories too!

Posted on: January 11, 2022 04:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

7 Procurement Terms You Should Know

Categories: procurement

We need to measure project performance to see if the project is on track.

The graphic below shares some ideas on the different ways you can measure work performance. None of these suggestions is better than any other – they are all appropriate for different projects, environments and levels of project management maturity.

procurement terms infographic

Do you use any of these approaches to measure progress on your projects? Why (or why not)? Let us know in the comments section below!

If infographics aren’t you thing, you can get almost the same information (with perhaps a teeny bit more detail) over at this article:

7 Contract Terms You Should Know

Posted on: September 18, 2019 08:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Make or Buy Decisions [Video]

Categories: procurement

make or buy decisions

Your project needs things. But should you buy them, or make them yourself?

It’s a big decision, and one that affects lots of industries and deliverables. My experience has mainly been make or buy in the software world. Should we develop our own software, or buy a tool that is known to be best in class?

With software particularly, there are a lot of considerations. Cost. How easy it will be to interface any off the shelf product with your existing architecture. Supporting it once it’s built and installed. Managing upgrades. So many questions!

While this video doesn’t have all the answers, it might help clarify the big picture for you so you can start a confident conversation with your management team about the things you need to procure for your project.

For more information on project procurement and what you should be considering, check out this article.

Pin for later reading:

make or buy project management decisions

Posted on: September 06, 2019 01:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

5 Steps of the Procurement Lifecycle [Video]

Categories: procurement

There are 5 steps in the procurement lifecycle:

  1. Requirements
  2. Vendor selection
  3. Negotiation and contracting
  4. Service delivery and performance monitoring
  5. Renewal/contract closure.

This video outlines the steps and talks specifically about the requirements and getting the procurement off to a good start by understanding what you need from the exercise.

Read more articles about procurement.

Posted on: April 24, 2019 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

What’s New in Project Procurement Management (pt 3)

Categories: procurement

It’s time for another instalment of What’s New In the PMBOK Guide®-- Sixth Edition. Following on from my look at the Plan Procurement Management process (which you can read here), and Conduct Procurements, we’ve reached the third of the Project Procurement Management Knowledge Area processes: Control Procurements.

The headlines are:

  • The changes to this process mostly feel very… average.
  • It seems to be a lot of aligning terminology
  • But, there is one big change relating to closing procurements – more on that in a moment.

Now let’s take a deep dive into the process and see how the new version of the PMBOK Guide®-- Sixth Edition has evolved.

Control Procurements Process

This is the third process in the Knowledge Area. We’re in the Monitoring and Controlling process group (surprise, surprise).


The changes all feel very cosmetic here – at least they do to me. Procurement Documents is out, to be replaced by Procurement Documentation. Work Performance Reports are out, but Project Documents are in, which would cover performance reports broadly, if you wanted to include them.

Project Documents would also cover:

  • Lessons learned log
  • Milestone list
  • Quality reports
  • Requirements documentation and the traceability matrix
  • Stakeholder, assumption and risk registers
  • And anything else your professional judgement feels should be included.

Finally, enterprise environmental factors and organisational process assets appear – almost as if they don’t want to be left out when they are in so many other places!

Enterprise environmental factors that relate to this process are things like marketplace conditions and your code of ethics that relate to how procurements should happen. You’ll use these factors to make better decisions about whether or not to step in and take action to keep a procurement agreement on track.

Organisational process assets are those things that relate to your company’s processes, and that can have an impact on how you work through those processes. The obvious one here is the procurement policy because that can influence how you progress, monitor and ultimately close down a procurement.

Tools and Techniques

The contract change control system no longer features, but expert judgement appears. Data analysis also features in this process as a technique, and it covers earned value analysis, trend analysis and performance reviews. These are all ways of assessing how the procurement is going, and they give you data that can help decide if you need to step in to do a bit more ‘controlling’ to keep the agreement on track.

Procurement performance reviews are no longer included (because these are covered by data analysis). Records management system has also been removed. I get that it’s a tool, but it’s not hugely useful here, at least not to the point where it has to be called out.

Inspection and audits are now split into two separate tools, whereas previously they were bunched together as ‘inspection and audits’. That takes the total T&T for the revised process to five.

I don’t have much else to say on this point – it all strikes me as pretty self-explanatory and also common sense.


And…. Drumroll….

Here is where we have the major change to this process. Closed Procurements is now an output of Control Procurements.

Why is this a big deal? Well, in the PMBOK Guide®-- Fifth Edition, Close Procurements was a whole process in itself. That whole process has disappeared.

Honestly, this is a good thing. It reflects what we have all known for a long time: generally, project managers don’t have the authority to legally close down a contract. We don’t authorise the final payment. We don’t terminate a deal. We may be the catalyst for the payment or the termination, and we do have significant influence over how it happens, when it happens and who is involved, but ultimately, we don’t have the final say. That is the project sponsor’s responsibility, or perhaps someone high up in the finance department. Or perhaps a procurement or contracts specialist, or a lawyer. Basically, a whole host of people are better equipped to do this than we are as project managers.

That’s not to say that on some projects, the teams are so lean that project managers do have the authority to go ahead and do this. But even if you take the steps, it’s generally someone else who gives you the go ahead to do so, like the project sponsor.

The work to do the closing of contracts is now covered as part of Control Procurements, so if you are doing it yourself, you still have a few pointers in the book.

Procurement documentation updates is the only other change to the outputs list (so in total, we’ve added two to the list and taken none away).

Procurement documentation is a wide-ranging phrase that covers all kinds of things relating to your agreements, including:

  • Approved and unapproved change requests
  • Technical documentation
  • Reports, warranties, paperwork to do with deliverables
  • Financial records which could include purchase orders, invoices, bill of sales, payment records, receipts and so on
  • The final reports from those inspections and audits carried out in this process, as mentioned in the Tools & Techniques
  • Work schedules, timesheets for effort, plans
  • And, as we’ve seen before, the guidance is non-exhaustive, so if your organisation uses some other kind of documentation for procurements, then by all means include it in your own list.

That brings us to the end of the Project Procurement Management Knowledge Area. There are just those 3 processes, and aside from the Close Procurements change, most of the other changes will not radically change how you go about doing your work.

Overall, I think the message to take away is to involve the experts in your business who have more experience in procurement than you. And if it is their job to do procurement full time, either as a contracts manager or a legal expert, then take advice, let them do what they are great at and you stay focused on getting the deliverables delivered.

If you’d like to see me summarise any other processes and the changes that the new PMBOK Guide® -- Sixth Edition has given us, then let me know in the comments below!

Posted on: April 24, 2018 09:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

"If you think you've hit a false note, sing loud. When in doubt, sing loud."

- Robert Merrill



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