Project management is critical for organizational success, and businesses should know how to implement their practices. The knowledge areas are some of the inputs that can be used as a guide to be followed by firms to improve project management by selecting the most appropriate bodies of knowledge (Varajão, 2016). The PMBOK knowledge areas can be defined as the identified areas of project management that require specific knowledge and are described in terms of their component processes, techniques, inputs, outputs, tools, and practices (PMI, 2019). The paper defines and discusses the selected PMBOK knowledge area (procurement management), PMBOK process groups, agile adaptive methodologies, and provides examples of knowledge areas from the Bible.
PMBOK Knowledge Area: Procurement Management
In the corporate world, procurement is a critical function often performed throughout an entire supply chain. The procurement activity is involved with the acquisition of supplies to help perform a business activity. Procurement management, however, is a management function that entails performing the managerial activities of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling within the context of procurement. As knowledge in PMBOK, procurement is the external purchasing executed to meet certain project needs (PMI, 2019). There are three processes involved in project procurement management: planning procurement management, conducting procurements, and controlling procurements. These processes are intended not only to help the project teams acquire supplies for the projects but also to enhance the supplier performance across the supply chain. According to Buzzetto et al. (2020), the selection of suppliers has a direct impact on the performance of the entire project. Such observations help to clarify how important procurement management is for project success.
The first stage in procurement management is planning where the needs of the project as identified. The external vendors are listed in a statement of work or terms of reference that highlights what a contractor is expected to do. Procurement documents are prepared before tenders are invited and vendors selected to supply the materials. The planning phase can be seen as the pre-procurement phase where a careful examination of both the project and the suppliers is conducted. It is at this stage, according to Buzzetto et al. (2020), where long-term company-supplier relationships can be established. The procurement manager needs to have full knowledge of the project requirements and supplier capabilities.
The second phase in procurement management is conducting the procurements or, in other words, executing the planned procurement. The execution involves sending out invitations to tender or requests for proposals and analyzing the received responses (PMI, 2019). Selection criteria, having been prepared in advance, are used to screen the potential vendors until the most suited for the project is identified. The importance of selection criteria is emphasized by De Araújo et al. (2017) who state that the criteria influence the entire process of procurement. Agreements are signed and the suppliers are allowed to bring in the supplies. At this stage, the costs and prices are agreed and the project manager can update the project financials.
The last stage of procurement management is controlling, which includes reviewing sub-contractor agreements, progress updates, and work performance to ensure the procurement proceeds flawlessly. According to PMI (2019), poor subcontractor management can potentially ruin the projects with schedules and budgets spiraling out of control. To avoid such incidences, the controlling phase entails implementing checks and balances to make sure the performance of the project is conducted according to plan and any necessary adjustments made. Even though the contractors selected to provide supplies are vetted, and approved, they would be expected to outsource some functions, and the project manager has to make sure the correct selection criteria for subcontracting are used.
PMBOK Process Groups
Project management is achieved through undertaking processes geared towards achieving the overall project. The knowledge areas can each be implemented through various processes called process groups (PMI, 2019). The process groups detailed in the PMBOK are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing processes. In procurement management, the three phases align with three of the five process groups: planning, executing, and monitoring, and controlling. It can be assumed here that the initiation process group comes before the planning phase of procurement management. Similarly, the closing process group comes after the project is complete and there is no need for further procurement activities. The three process groups aligning with the phases of procurement management are discussed in detail in the paragraphs that follow.
The planning process group comprises the processes performed to highlight the overall scope of the effort and to define and refine the project objectives. Additionally, the planning process group is concerned with the development of a course of action geared towards achieving the set objectives (PMI, 2019). The process group has activities similar to the planning phase of procurement management where the scope of the procurement, objectives, and action plan are developed.
Executing process group can be defined as the processes undertaken to complete the work previously defined in the planning process group to satisfy the project specifications. This process group involves coordinating resources and people by the project management plan (PMI, 2019). The second phase of the procurement management adopts a similar approach where the procurement is conducted according to the procurement management plan developed in the previous phase. The execution processes in procurement management, therefore, include the selection of vendors and signing agreements before the delivery of the supplies. Lastly, the monitoring and controlling process group is concerned with tracking, reviewing, and regulating the performance and progress of the project. In procurement management, this process group aligns with the controlling phase where reviews and progress updates are made.
Agile Adaptive Methodologies
Agile methodologies can be described as a people-focused and results-focused approach to project management. According to Rasnacis and Bērziša (2017), some of the most popular agile and adaptive methodologies include extreme programming, Scrum, feature-driven development, and lean development among others. Agile principles can be applied to the procurement management process where concepts such as agile contracts are used to improve the efficiency of the procurement process. In an agile contract, people are preferred over processes and tools (Messai, 2019). Working prototypes are developed rather than excessive documentation of the procurement activities. Instead of following a plan, agile procurement seeks to respond to changes. Lastly, agile procurement or agile contracts seek to achieve customer collaboration as opposed to rigid contracts. Such agile characteristics are intended to make the procurement management process flexible and efficient in meeting the set objectives of both the procurement and the project as a whole.
Procurement management examples from the Bible include an episode when King David planned to build a temple. Bible verses such as 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 22:7-8 and 28:1-3 describe the processes leading to building the temple (Deffinbaugh, 2020). The key event in the construction project was the acquisition of both labor and construction materials that needed to be of high quality. King David planned to build the house and acquired all the materials necessary, even though it was his son, King Solomon, who implemented the project. David had to make sure all the wills of God were met in the project and all conversations between him and God did direct the materials to purchase and the people to be engaged in the project. Some of the key lessons from the project include the need to emphasize the quality of items purchased and vetting the suppliers to ensure delivery of the right quality. The agility in the procurement process is also seen with the high levels of collaboration and changing plans throughout the project.
Procurement management is a knowledge area in the PMBOK that focuses on the external purchases of a project. Three processes in project procurement management have been outlined: planning, conducting, and controlling. These processes have been aligned with three process groups: planning process group, executing process group, and monitoring and controlling process group. The application of agile methodologies in procurement management has been illustrated using agile contracting, a concept that focuses on people, customers, and prototypes. Lastly, an example of procurement management in the Bible has been outlined, specifically the project involving the construction of the temple. Therefore, the procurement processes and the process groups are interconnected, and the examples of procurement management in the Bible support the idea that it is critical for organizational success.
Buzzetto, R., Bauli, M., & De Carvalho, M. (2020). The key aspects of procurement in project management: investigating the effects of selection criteria, supplier integration and dynamics of acquisitions. Production, 30, p. e20190112. Web.
De Araújo, M., Alencar, L., & Mota, c. (2017). Project procurement management: A structured literature review. International Journal of Project management, 35(3), 353-377.
Deffinbaugh, B. (2020). Q. What was David’s role in the building of the temple? Web.
Messai, S. (2019). Agile contracts: Effective procurement for enhanced project success in the entertainment industry. PM World Journal, 8(2).
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Rasnacis, A., & Bērziša, S. (2017). Method for adaptation and implementation of agile project management methodology. Procedia Computer Science, 104, 43-50.
Varajão, J. (2016). Success management as a PM knowledge area – work-in-progress. Procedia Computer Science, 100, 1095-1102.