A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Third Edition, is copyright by the Project Management Institute, PA, USA, 2004.
It has been distributed on a CD free of charge to members of the Institute.

Published here May, 2005.

PART 2 | Recap
Section III - The Project Management Knowledge Areas
What We Liked | Downside -1 -2 -3 | Summary

Section III - The Project Management Knowledge Areas

Downside, 3/3
Comments on Chapter 12: Procurement

Chapter 12, Project Procurement Management, necessarily deals with a subject that occupies a whole area of the legal profession and upon which a mountain of literature is to be found. Moreover, common practices that form a part of the law vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from one area of project application to another. So it is not easy to reduce the subject to a few pages. Still, we do think some basics could be made clearer.

Unlike the Guide 2000 that expressly stated that the subject "is discussed from the perspective of the buyer in the buyer-seller relationship",[41] this Guide 2004 states:

"This chapter presents two perspectives of procurement. The organization can be either the buyer or seller of the product, service or results under contract."[42]

In fact the seller's perspective receives only limited mention and is not called out separately.

Areas that could be improved include:

  • "Contract" is an output from "Select Sellers"[43] but the process of award of contract is a significant one that receives little attention.
  • The discussion of "Contract Types"[44] could be improved. For example: "Cost-reimbursable contracts" and "Time and Material contracts" are often deemed to be synonymous and do not warrant separate paragraphs.
  • On the other hand, the type of contract to be deployed depends on:
    • The nature of the product or service to be bought (from off-the-shelf to fully-built);
    • How much you know about what you are buying (from vague outline to fully specified);
    • The manner of specifying what you want (i.e. functional, performance, detailed design, or example as a model);
    • From whom you are buying (e.g. from a Request for Proposal to a professional consultant, to a tender call through a bid depository for site specific services); and
    • The appropriate and corresponding form of payment (from time-and-materials to fixed-price)

These areas are either not distinguished in the text or are overlooked altogether.

We don't think it appropriate for changes to a contract to be processed through the Integrated Change Control process.[45] A change to a contract is a specific and separate legal process that gets only a brief mention "Under Contract Administration".[46] The suggested list of "Evaluation Criteria"[47] is mainly suited to evaluating responses to Requests for Proposals and is not appropriate for construction-type contracts.

Under "Request Seller Response"[48] the suggestion that "The prospective sellers, normally at no direct cost to the project or buyer, expend most of the actual effort in this process" is an unfortunate one. It suggests that the project gets a free-bee. This is far from true. All of that work, and indeed for the work of lost proposal submissions, has to be paid for somewhere. It becomes part of the price of the product or services and project managers should be made well aware of that commercial fact.

"Records Management System" [49] gets a brief mention when in fact it is a whole process essential to project management as a whole, as well as being a vital part of effective contract administration and control. The paragraph does refer back to "Project Management Information System"[50] but this brief paragraph does not mention records management per se.

Finally, from Section IV: Appendix A - Third Edition Changes, we learn that:

"The project team proposed a wholesale change to all process names to be verb-object format in the PMBOK® Guide - third Edition. However, PMI authorized only an incremental change in the PMBOK® Guide - third Edition to include only those approved processes and a small number of other processes for specific reasons explained later in this appendix."[51]

We think this commercial decision was a pity. At least the labeling at this level would have been consistent and conforming to good Work Breakdown Structure practice.

Section III - What We Liked  Section III - Downside
continued, 2/3

41. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 2000 Edition, Project Management Institute, PA, 2000, p147
42. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Third Edition, Project Management Institute, PA, 2004, p269
43. Ibid p289
44. Ibid p277-279
45. Ibid p280
46. ibid p292
47. Ibid p283
48. Ibid p284
49. Ibid p293
50. Ibid p88
51. Ibid p302
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