Project Procurement Management and Agile context


Project procurement management involves the processes and activities necessary to acquire goods, services, and resources needed to support project execution. It encompasses the entire procurement lifecycle, from identifying procurement needs to contract closeout. Here's an overview of project procurement management:

  1. Procurement Planning: This initial phase involves determining what needs to be procured for the project. It includes defining procurement requirements, developing procurement strategies, selecting appropriate contract types, and establishing procurement timelines and budgets.

  2. Supplier Selection: Once procurement needs are identified, potential suppliers or vendors are identified and evaluated. This process may involve supplier prequalification, conducting market research, issuing requests for proposals (RFPs) or requests for quotations (RFQs), and evaluating supplier proposals.

  3. Contract Negotiation and Award: After selecting preferred suppliers, contract negotiation takes place to finalize terms and conditions. Negotiations may involve pricing, delivery schedules, quality standards, scope of work, and other contractual terms. Once negotiations are complete, contracts are awarded to selected suppliers.

  4. Contract Administration: This phase involves managing the execution of contracts throughout the project lifecycle. Contract administration tasks include monitoring supplier performance, tracking deliverables, ensuring compliance with contractual obligations, handling changes or disputes, and addressing any issues that arise during contract execution.

  5. Procurement Performance Monitoring and Control: Throughout the project, procurement performance is monitored and controlled to ensure that procurement activities stay on track and meet project objectives. This involves tracking procurement costs, assessing supplier performance, managing risks, and implementing corrective actions as needed.

  6. Contract Closeout: Once the contracted work is completed and all deliverables are accepted, contracts are closed out. This involves verifying that all contractual obligations have been fulfilled, making final payments to suppliers, conducting a final review of procurement performance, and archiving relevant documentation for future reference.

Project procurement management is essential for ensuring that projects have the necessary resources to succeed and that procurement activities are conducted efficiently, effectively, and in accordance with project requirements and organizational policies. Effective procurement management helps minimize project risks, optimize resource utilization, and contribute to project success.

Procurement Planning 

Procurement planning is the process of identifying, documenting, and managing the procurement requirements and strategies for acquiring goods, services, or works needed to support a project or organization. It involves systematically planning and organizing procurement activities to ensure that the necessary resources are obtained in a timely and cost-effective manner while adhering to legal and organizational requirements. Here are the key steps involved in procurement planning:

  1. Identify Procurement Needs: The first step in procurement planning is to identify the goods, services, or works that need to be procured to support the project or organization's objectives. This may involve conducting a needs assessment, reviewing project plans, consulting with stakeholders, and analysing requirements to determine the specific procurement needs.

  2. Define Procurement Objectives: Once the procurement needs are identified, clear objectives should be defined for each procurement activity. Objectives may include achieving cost savings, ensuring quality and reliability, mitigating risks, promoting sustainability, and supporting socio-economic development goals.

  3. Develop Procurement Strategy: Based on the procurement objectives, develop a procurement strategy that outlines the approach and methods for acquiring the required goods, services, or works. Consider factors such as market conditions, supplier capabilities, procurement methods (e.g., competitive bidding, sole sourcing), contract types, and risk management strategies.

  4. Determine Procurement Requirements: Specify the detailed requirements for the goods, services, or works to be procured, including technical specifications, quantities, quality standards, delivery schedules, and any special terms or conditions. Ensure that the requirements are clearly documented and communicated to potential suppliers to facilitate accurate bidding and proposal submissions.

  5. Identify Potential Suppliers: Identify potential suppliers or vendors who can meet the procurement requirements and deliver the desired goods, services, or works. Conduct market research, supplier evaluations, and supplier prequalification processes to assess supplier capabilities, reliability, and suitability for the procurement.

  6. Estimate Procurement Costs: Develop cost estimates for the procurement activities, including the costs of goods or services, transportation, taxes, duties, and any other associated expenses. Consider factors such as inflation, currency fluctuations, and potential cost overruns when estimating procurement costs.

  7. Prepare Procurement Plan: Consolidate the procurement requirements, objectives, strategy, supplier information, and cost estimates into a comprehensive procurement plan. The procurement plan should outline the procurement approach, timelines, responsibilities, budget allocations, and risk management measures.

  8. Obtain Approvals: Obtain necessary approvals for the procurement plan from relevant stakeholders, such as project sponsors, management, procurement committees, or regulatory authorities. Ensure that the procurement plan complies with organizational policies, procurement regulations, and legal requirements.

  9. Implement Procurement Plan: Once the procurement plan is approved, proceed with implementing the procurement activities according to the plan. Execute procurement processes such as soliciting bids or proposals, evaluating responses, negotiating contracts, and awarding contracts to selected suppliers.

  10. Monitor and Control Procurement Activities: Monitor the progress of procurement activities, track expenditures, and ensure compliance with procurement procedures and contractual obligations. Implement controls and corrective actions as needed to address deviations from the procurement plan, mitigate risks, and optimize procurement outcomes.

  11. Evaluate Procurement Performance: After procurement activities are completed, evaluate the performance of the procurement process against established objectives, criteria, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Identify lessons learned, best practices, and areas for improvement to inform future procurement planning and execution efforts.

By following a systematic approach to procurement planning, organizations can effectively manage their procurement activities, minimize risks, optimize resource utilization, and achieve desired outcomes in support of project or organizational objectives.


A Time and material (T&M) contract is a type of procurement contract used in project management where the buyer pays the seller for the time and materials expended to perform the work . Time and material contracts are commonly used when the scope of work is uncertain or when the duration and extent of the work cannot be accurately determined at the outset of the project. The seller typically charges the buyer based on the actual time spent by the seller's personnel (e.g., labour hours) and the cost of materials used to perform the work. The seller's hourly rates for labour and the unit prices for materials are specified in the contract or agreed upon between the parties. In T&M contracts, the buyer bears the risk of project delays and cost overruns.

An example of a time and materials contract is :

ABC Company will charge an hourly rate for the services of its software developers, project managers, and other personnel involved in the project. The hourly rates are specified in the contract as follows: 

Software Developers: $100 per hour

Project Manager: $120 per hour

If in the project of company ABC  there are three developers  and a project manager who worked for 100 hrs.

The total price would be = 100 x 100 + 120 x 100 = 10000+ 12000= 22000 USD

Fixed Price Contract : A fixed price contract, also known as a lump-sum contract, is a type of contract where the buyer agrees to pay a fixed price for the product or service specified in the contract, regardless of the actual costs incurred by the seller. In other words, the seller agrees to deliver the product or service for a predetermined price, and any additional costs or risks are borne by the seller. Key characteristics of fixed price contracts include:

  1. Predictability: Both parties know the exact cost of the project upfront, which provides financial predictability.

  2. Risk Allocation: The risk of cost overruns or delays typically falls on the seller. If the actual costs exceed the agreed-upon price, the seller is responsible for covering the difference.

  3. Clear Scope of Work: The contract should clearly define the scope of work to be delivered by the seller, ensuring both parties have a clear understanding of what is expected.

  4. Change Control Mechanisms: Changes to the scope of work are typically managed through change control mechanisms outlined in the contract, which may involve additional costs or adjustments to the schedule.

Fixed price contracts are commonly used in construction, software development, consulting services, and other projects where the scope of work can be clearly defined upfront. However, they may not be suitable for projects with a high degree of uncertainty or where the scope of work is likely to change frequently. In such cases, other contract types such as time and materials or cost-reimbursable contracts may be more appropriate.

Point of total assumption : The Point of Total Assumption (PTA) is a concept used in project management, particularly in the context of fixed-price contracts with incentive fees. It represents the point at which the seller (contractor) assumes all responsibility for costs beyond a certain level, up to a maximum price.

In a fixed-price incentive fee contract, the buyer and seller agree on a target cost, a target profit, a price ceiling (maximum price), and a sharing ratio for costs above or below the target cost. The PTA is the cost at which the seller assumes all responsibility for any additional costs beyond the target cost and up to the maximum price.

Here's how it works:

  1. Target Cost: This is the estimated cost of the project that both the buyer and seller agree upon. It includes all allowable costs incurred by the seller in completing the project.

  2. Target Profit: This is the profit margin that the seller expects to earn from the project. It's typically expressed as a percentage of the target cost.

  3. Price Ceiling (Maximum Price): This is the maximum amount that the buyer is willing to pay for the project. It's agreed upon in the contract and serves as a cap on the total price.

  4. Sharing Ratio: This ratio determines how any costs above or below the target cost are shared between the buyer and seller. For example, if the sharing ratio is 80/20, the buyer might agree to pay 80% of any savings below the target cost and the seller would cover 20% of any costs above the target cost.

  5. Point of Total Assumption (PTA): This is the point at which the total costs (target cost + seller's share of any costs above the target) equal the maximum price. Beyond this point, the seller assumes full responsibility for any additional costs.

The PTA is a critical threshold in fixed-price incentive fee contracts as it defines the boundary between cost responsibility for the buyer and the seller. Beyond the PTA, the seller risks incurring losses if costs exceed the maximum price, providing a strong incentive for efficient cost management and project execution.

Fixed Price Plus Incentive :  A fixed price plus incentive contract is a type of contract that combines elements of both fixed-price and incentive-based contracts. In this type of contract, the buyer and seller agree upon a fixed price for the project, but incentives are included to encourage certain performance outcomes.

Here's how it typically works:

  1. Fixed Price Component: Like in a traditional fixed-price contract, there is a predetermined price that the buyer agrees to pay the seller for the goods or services provided. This fixed price provides both parties with a clear understanding of the financial terms of the agreement.

  2. Incentive Component: In addition to the fixed price, incentive mechanisms are built into the contract to motivate specific behaviours or outcomes. These incentives can be tied to various performance metrics such as cost savings, schedule adherence, quality levels, or other key performance indicators (KPIs). Positive Incentives: These are rewards or bonuses provided to the seller for achieving or exceeding specified performance targets. For example, the seller may receive additional payments or bonuses for completing the project ahead of schedule or under budget, or for delivering exceptionally high-quality work. Negative Incentives: Conversely, negative incentives may also be included to penalize the seller for failing to meet certain performance standards. These penalties could involve deductions from the fixed price for delays, defects, or other failures to meet contractual obligations.

  3. Performance Metrics and Targets: The contract clearly defines the performance metrics, targets, and associated incentives. This ensures that both parties have a mutual understanding of the goals and expectations, and that the incentives are aligned with the buyer's objectives.

  4. Risk Allocation: While the fixed price provides cost certainty to the buyer, the incentive component allows for risk-sharing and provides additional motivation for the seller to perform well. By offering incentives tied to project performance, the buyer can encourage efficient and effective project execution while mitigating risks associated with cost overruns or delays.

Fixed price plus incentive contracts are often used in situations where the buyer wants to balance the cost certainty of a fixed-price contract with the benefits of incentivizing desired performance outcomes. They can help align the interests of both parties and promote collaboration towards achieving project success.

Fixed Price with Economic Price Adjustment Contracts – FP-EPA: The seller is paid a fixed price. The contract is reviewed at pre-defined intervals in the project for adjustments to the contract price based on certain parameters

Cost Reimbursable Contracts : Cost reimbursable contracts, also known as cost-plus contracts, are a type of procurement contract where the buyer agrees to reimburse the seller for all allowable costs incurred during the performance of the contract, plus an additional fee or profit margin. Unlike fixed-price contracts where the price is predetermined, in cost reimbursable contracts, the final price is not known at the outset and is determined based on the actual costs incurred by the seller.

Here are the key features of cost reimbursable contracts:

  1. Reimbursement of Costs: Under this type of contract, the buyer agrees to reimburse the seller for all allowable costs incurred in the performance of the contract. Allowable costs typically include direct costs such as labor, materials, equipment, and other expenses directly attributable to the project, as well as indirect costs such as overhead and administrative expenses.

  2. Fee or Profit Margin: In addition to reimbursing the seller for costs, the buyer typically agrees to pay the seller a fee or profit margin. This fee can be a fixed amount, a percentage of the total costs, or based on other factors negotiated between the parties. The fee compensates the seller for its services and provides an incentive for efficient cost management and performance.

  3. Flexibility: Cost reimbursable contracts offer flexibility to accommodate changes in project scope, requirements, or other unforeseen circumstances. Since the buyer reimburses the seller for actual costs incurred, the contract can be adjusted as needed to reflect changes in project conditions.

  4. Risk Allocation: In cost reimbursable contracts, the buyer assumes a higher degree of risk compared to fixed-price contracts, as they are responsible for reimbursing the seller for all allowable costs, regardless of the final project outcome. However, the seller bears the risk of not being able to complete the project within the agreed-upon budget and may be subject to penalties if costs exceed certain limits.

  5. Transparency and Auditing: Since the buyer reimburses the seller for actual costs, cost reimbursable contracts typically require detailed documentation and accounting of all expenses incurred by the seller. This transparency allows the buyer to verify the accuracy and reasonableness of the costs claimed by the seller and may involve auditing by the buyer or third-party auditors.

Cost reimbursable contracts are commonly used in situations where the scope of work is uncertain, complex, or subject to change, such as research and development projects, construction projects with evolving requirements, or contracts for professional services where the extent of work cannot be precisely defined upfront. They provide flexibility and incentivize collaboration between the buyer and seller to achieve project objectives while managing costs effectively.

Conducting Procurement

Conducting project procurement involves the process of acquiring goods and services from external sources to meet project requirements. Here's a general overview of the steps involved in conducting project procurement:

  1. Solicitation: Invite suppliers to submit proposals or bids for the project. This could involve issuing requests for proposals (RFPs), requests for quotations (RFQs), or requests for tenders, depending on the nature of the procurement.

  2. Bid Evaluation: Evaluate bids or proposals received from suppliers. Consider factors such as cost, technical capabilities, experience, quality, and compliance with project requirements. Select the supplier(s) that offer the best value to the project.

  3. Negotiation: Negotiate contract terms and conditions with selected suppliers. This may involve discussions on pricing, delivery schedules, payment terms, warranties, and other contractual provisions. Aim to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement that meets the needs of both parties.

  4. Contract Award: Award the contract to the selected supplier(s) based on the evaluation criteria and negotiation outcomes. Formalize the agreement through a legally binding contract document that outlines the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both parties.

A bidders conference, also known as a pre-bid meeting or a pre-proposal conference, is a meeting held by the organization issuing a request for proposals (RFP) or similar procurement document. The purpose of the conference is to provide potential bidders or proposers with additional information about the project, clarify any ambiguities or uncertainties in the procurement documents, and answer questions from prospective vendors.

Here are the key aspects and benefits of holding a bidders conference:

  1. Information Sharing: The organization issuing the RFP can use the conference to provide detailed information about the project, including its objectives, scope, requirements, timelines, and evaluation criteria. This helps ensure that potential bidders have a clear understanding of what is expected and can submit more informed proposals.

  2. Clarification of Requirements: Bidders may have questions or seek clarification on certain aspects of the procurement documents. The conference provides an opportunity for the organization to address these questions, clarify any ambiguities, and provide additional context to help bidders better understand the requirements.

  3. Equal Access to Information: Holding a bidders conference ensures that all potential bidders have access to the same information. This promotes fairness and transparency in the procurement process, as all bidders are provided with the same opportunity to ask questions and receive clarification.

  4. Networking and Collaboration: The conference can facilitate networking and collaboration among potential bidders. Bidders may have the opportunity to interact with each other, form partnerships or consortiums, and explore opportunities for collaboration on the project.

  5. Improved Proposals: By providing additional information and clarifications during the conference, organizations can help bidders submit more accurate and competitive proposals. This can ultimately lead to better quality proposals and more successful outcomes for the project.

  6. Risk Mitigation: Clarifying requirements and addressing questions during the bidders conference can help mitigate the risk of misunderstandings or misinterpretations in the proposals submitted by bidders. This reduces the likelihood of disputes or issues arising later in the procurement process.

Overall, holding a bidders conference can contribute to a more efficient, transparent, and successful procurement process by providing potential bidders with the information and support they need to submit competitive proposals that meet the organization's needs and objectives.

Major component of an agreement 

  • Statement of work or deliverables 
  • Schedule baselines 
  • Performance reporting 
  • Period of performance 
  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Seller's place of performance 
  • Pricing 
  • Payment Terms 
  • Place of delivery 
  • Inspection and acceptance criteria 
  • Warranty 
  • Product Support 
  • Limitation of liability 
  • Fees and retainer 
  • Penalties 
  • Incentives 
  • Insurance and performance bonds 
  • Subordinate subcontractor approvals 
  • Change request handling 
  • Termination clause and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism. The ADR method can be decided in advance as a part of the procurement award. 

Insurance and Performance Bond in a Contract

In a contract, insurance and performance bonds serve distinct but related purposes to mitigate risk and ensure that parties fulfil their obligations. Here's an overview of each:

  1. Insurance: Insurance is a financial product that provides protection against specified risks in exchange for premium payments. In the context of a contract, parties may require insurance to cover various liabilities or risks associated with the performance of the contract. Types of insurance commonly included in contracts include general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, property insurance, and workers' compensation insurance. For example, in a construction contract, the contractor might be required to carry liability insurance to cover any damages or injuries that occur on the worksite.

  2. Performance Bond: A performance bond, also known as a contract bond, is a type of surety bond that guarantees the satisfactory completion of a project or fulfilment of contractual obligations. It serves as a form of security for the oblige (usually the project owner or client) in case the principal (contractor or service provider) fails to perform as agreed. If the principal defaults, the oblige can make a claim against the bond to recover financial losses incurred due to the non-performance. Performance bonds are commonly used in construction contracts, government contracts, and other large projects where there is a risk of non-performance. The process of obtaining a performance bond typically involves the principal securing the bond from a surety company by paying a premium, undergoing a credit check, and providing financial and project-related information.

In summary, while both insurance and performance bonds provide financial protection in contractual agreements, insurance covers various risks and liabilities, while performance bonds specifically guarantee the completion of contractual obligations. Depending on the nature of the contract and the risks involved, parties may require one or both forms of protection to mitigate their exposure to potential losses.

Controlling Procurement

Controlling project procurement involves the systematic management and oversight of procurement activities throughout the project lifecycle to ensure that they align with project goals, adhere to budgetary constraints, and meet quality standards. Here's how controlling project procurement typically works:

  • Track and monitor procurement activities against the procurement plan to ensure they are progressing according to schedule and budget.
  • Use key performance indicators (KPIs) such as procurement cycle time, cost variance, and supplier performance metrics to assess procurement performance.
  • Regularly assess vendor performance to ensure they meet contractual obligations, deliver quality products/services, and adhere to project timelines.
  • Monitor procurement expenditures to ensure they remain within the allocated budget.
  • Implement controls to identify and address cost overruns, such as conducting cost-benefit analyses, negotiating prices with vendors, and seeking approval for budget adjustments when necessary.
  • Identify potential risks and uncertainties associated with procurement activities, such as supplier delays, quality issues, or changes in market conditions.
  • Develop risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans to address identified risks and minimize their impact on project procurement.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date documentation of all procurement activities, including contracts, purchase orders, invoices, and correspondence.
  • Generate regular reports on procurement performance, budget utilization, and compliance with procurement policies and regulations to keep stakeholders informed and facilitate decision-making.
  • Continuously evaluate and improve procurement processes and practices based on lessons learned, feedback from stakeholders, and changes in project requirements or market conditions.
  • Implement feedback mechanisms to solicit input from project team members, stakeholders, and vendors to identify opportunities for enhancing procurement efficiency, effectiveness, and value delivery.
  • By effectively controlling project procurement, project managers can optimize procurement outcomes, minimize risks, and contribute to the overall success of the project.


Closing Procurement

Closing procurement refers to the process of finalizing and completing all procurement-related activities within a project once the project's objectives have been achieved or when the project is coming to an end. This phase ensures that all contractual obligations are fulfilled, payments are processed, and relevant documentation is completed. Here's an overview of the steps involved in closing procurement:

  1. Contract Closeout: Review all contracts and procurement agreements to ensure that all goods, services, or works have been delivered as per the terms and conditions outlined in the contracts. Verify that all deliverables meet the quality standards and specifications agreed upon in the contract. Address any outstanding issues or discrepancies with suppliers or vendors. Obtain formal acceptance of deliverables from project stakeholders.

  2. Financial Closure: Ensure that all invoices and payments related to procurement activities are processed accurately and in a timely manner. Verify that all financial transactions are properly documented and accounted for. Resolve any outstanding payment disputes or discrepancies with suppliers or vendors. Obtain necessary approvals for final payments and financial closeout.

  3. Supplier Evaluation and Feedback: Evaluate the performance of suppliers and vendors based on predefined criteria, such as quality, timeliness, responsiveness, and adherence to contractual obligations. Gather feedback from project team members and stakeholders regarding their experience with suppliers and vendors. Document lessons learned and best practices for future procurement activities.

  4. Document Management: Ensure that all procurement-related documentation, including contracts, purchase orders, invoices, receipts, and correspondence, is properly organized, archived, and retained according to relevant policies and regulations. Close out procurement files and ensure that all documentation is complete and accurate.

  5. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Verify compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and organizational policies related to procurement activities. Ensure that all procurement activities adhere to ethical standards and best practices.

  6. Closure Report and Project Documentation: Prepare a closure report summarizing the outcomes of procurement activities, including key achievements, challenges, lessons learned, and recommendations for improvement. Update project documentation, including the project management plan, procurement plan, and any other relevant documents, to reflect the completion of procurement activities.

  7. Formal Closure: Obtain formal approval from project sponsors or stakeholders to formally close out procurement activities. Communicate the closure of procurement activities to all relevant parties, including project team members, stakeholders, suppliers, and vendors. Celebrate the successful completion of procurement activities and acknowledge the contributions of all involved parties.

By effectively closing procurement, project managers can ensure that all procurement-related tasks are completed satisfactorily, minimize risks, and achieve successful project outcomes.

Agile Contracts

Agile contracts are agreements between a client and a vendor that are specifically tailored to accommodate the principles and practices of Agile software development methodologies. These contracts are designed to provide flexibility, transparency, and collaboration throughout the project lifecycle, allowing both parties to adapt to changing requirements and priorities.

Here are some key characteristics of Agile contracts:

  1. Flexibility: Agile contracts emphasize adaptability to change. They typically include provisions for modifying project scope, requirements, and deliverables based on evolving customer needs and market conditions.

  2. Incremental Delivery: Contracts often focus on incremental delivery of software features or functionality, allowing the client to provide feedback and make adjustments throughout the development process.

  3. Transparency: Agile contracts promote transparency by outlining the project's goals, timelines, and budget constraints upfront. They also establish mechanisms for ongoing communication and reporting between the client and the development team.

  4. Collaboration: Agile contracts encourage close collaboration between the client and the development team. They often include provisions for regular meetings, demos, and feedback sessions to ensure alignment and address any issues promptly.

  5. Risk Sharing: Some Agile contracts incorporate risk-sharing mechanisms to incentivize both parties to work together effectively. For example, incentives or penalties may be tied to project milestones or deliverables.

  6. Iterative Approach: Agile contracts support an iterative approach to development, where software is built and released in small, incremental cycles. This allows for early validation of concepts and continuous improvement based on user feedback.

  7. Continuous Improvement: Contracts may include provisions for retrospectives and lessons learned sessions to identify areas for improvement and refine processes over time.

Types of Agile Contracts:

  1. Time and Materials (T&M): In a T&M contract, the client pays for the actual time and resources expended by the development team, typically on a per-hour or per-sprint basis. This type of contract offers maximum flexibility but may carry higher risks for the client.

  2. Fixed Price with Iterations: This type of contract involves dividing the project into multiple iterations or phases, each with its own fixed price and set of deliverables. Changes to the scope or requirements may be accommodated between iterations but could result in additional costs.

  3. Value-Based Contracts: Value-based contracts tie payments to the value delivered to the client, rather than the time or effort expended by the development team. This approach aligns incentives between the client and the vendor, as both parties are motivated to focus on delivering high-value features.

Agile contracts require a high degree of trust and collaboration between the client and the vendor, as well as a willingness to embrace uncertainty and change. By adopting Agile contracts, organizations can better respond to market dynamics, deliver greater value to customers, and mitigate risks associated with traditional, rigid contract structures.