CMMI and Procurement Management
This Key Process Area
(KPA) is called Software Subcontract Management by CMM/CMMI but it aligns with
the Procurement Management knowledge area of the PMBOK®. The objective is to
select vendors who are best able to meet the projects needs in terms of work,
product, and budget. Keep in mind that while the PMBOK® paints Procurement
Management activities with a broad brush in order to cover all industries,
CMM/CMMI are only interested in activities that pertain to software subcontractors,
or software vendors. The Procurement Management plan must cover any
procurement. As with the other KPAs, Software
Subcontract Management is organized into goals, commitments, abilities,
activities, measurements, and verifications.
The 4 goals of this KPA are:
- Qualified software subcontractors are
selected by the project manager. This goal is supported in full by the Conduct
- The customer and subcontractor agree to
their commitments to each other. The contract for the delivery of goods
and/or services for consideration is the agreement. The contract (procurement
contract award) is the output of the Conduct Procurements process.
- The customer and subcontractor maintain
ongoing communications. There is nothing in the Procurement Management
processes which specifically addresses this goal; however the scheduling of
regular review meetings, such as performance reviews will meet this goal.
- The customer tracks the software
subcontractor’s results against commitments. Work performance information,
performance reports, and performance reviews are all inputs of the administer
procurements process and serve to track results against commitments.
Commitment to Perform
There are 2 commitments: that the project follows a written
organizational policy for managing the software subcontractor and that a
subcontract manager is designated to be responsible for establishing and
managing the software contract. The policy is the responsibility of the
organization subcontracting the work and you, or someone you assign to the
role, is the subcontract manager. Your Procurement Management plan is not an
organizational policy but will take the place of one for the project you are
Ability to Perform
You will demonstrate an ability to perform the activities
called for by your plan by assigning adequate resources and funding to the job
of selecting and managing the subcontractor. You are the first resource
assigned to the project and any organizational policies, standards, vendor lists,
and your Procurement Management plan are also resources. Any managers or other
individuals that you assign to the work of selecting or managing the
subcontractor must be adequately trained in that work and given orientation on
the technical aspects of the contract. Your Human Resources Management plan
will describe how this is done. Resources assigned to your project by outside
organizations such as a Procurement group should be trained by that group.
- Define and plan the work according to the
documented procedure and the subcontracted work is described in a Statement of
Work (SOW), which is derived from the project SOW. The documented procedure
in this case will be your Procurement Management plan. The detailed activities
include make or buy decisions, and choosing vendor selection criteria. The SOW
should also be reviewed and agree to by resources working on subcontractor
selection and management.
- Select the subcontractor based on their
ability to perform the work in accordance with a documented procedure. This
is the Conduct Procurements process described in your Procurement Management
- The contract between the customer and the
subcontractor is used to manage the subcontract. This activity includes the
specification of the work products the subcontractor must deliver, criteria
they must meet, how changes will be made, acceptance criteria, and how
subcontractor performance will be monitored. This is all standard stuff covered
off in the Conduct Procurements and Administer Procurements processes.
- The customer reviews and approves the
software subcontractor’s development plan. This will be a deliverable
covered in the SOW and the approval process and conditions for approval will
also be described there.
- The subcontractor’s plan is used to track
the subcontractor’s activities. The tracking should be done at status
review meetings you conduct with the subcontractor’s project manager.
- Changes to the subcontractor’s SOW and
contract are decided upon according to a documented procedure. This
procedure will be the Contract Change Control System described in the
Administer Procurements process.
- The customer conducts periodic
status/coordination reviews with the subcontractor’s management. These are
called Procurement Performance Reviews by the PMBOK® and are part of the
Administer Procurements process. These should be spelled out in the SOW and
should be held at scheduled intervals (e.g. once a week) to review the status
of the subcontractor’s project. This activity goes on to specify that deviations
from the plan are addressed and that conflicts are addressed. Corrective
actions are part of the subcontractor PM’s responsibilities. Deviations not
addressed by that PM would result in conflict and conflicts are resolved by the
Claims Administration tool described in Administer Procurements. The best way
of meeting these needs is to ensure that the subcontractor’s PM manages your
project in accordance with project management best practices (which call for
corrective action to be taken when results deviate from the plan). You also
should ensure that the PM maintains an action register or issue log to capture
any issues you have with the project.
- Periodic technical reviews are held with
the subcontractor. This activity verifies that the product being produced
meets your needs and any quality targets set for it. This activity is described
in the Administer Procurements process as Inspections and Audits. Interpret
this to mean reviews of Functional Specifications and Detail Design Documentsproduced by the subcontractor where the requirements captured in your Business
Requirements Document are translated into functions, and code.
- Formal reviews of the subcontractor’s work
products are conducted at selected milestones. These formal reviews are
what I refer to as Gate Review meetings conducted at key milestones throughout
the project. The subcontractor may have their own Gate Review meetings with you
as a key stakeholder, or your Gate Review meetings may be sufficient on their
own. In either case the deliverables planned for the completed sub-project
phase should be reviewed for completeness and plans, resources, risks, etc. of
the upcoming sub-project phase should also be reviewed.
- The customer’s Software Quality Assurance
group (SQA) monitors the subcontractor’s SQA activities according to a
documented procedure. This is beyond the scope of your project, unless your
project is also implementing an SQA group and processes. Your project can
contribute to the activity by ensuring that the contract, SOW, and your Quality
Management plan specify the SQA activities required of the subcontractor and
performing audits to ensure those activities are done.
- Your Configuration Management group monitors
the configuration activities of the subcontractor. The SOW used to define
the subcontractor’s responsibilities should include CM activities and these
should also be captured in the subcontractor’s project plans. Reviews and
audits need to include verification that the subcontractor performs their CM
activities as per their plans.
- You should conduct acceptance testing of
the subcontractor’s deliverables according to a documented procedure. Inspections
of deliverables such as specifications, designs, and code should be governed by
the Administer Procurements process in your plan. These should include testing
of the software (User Acceptance Testing).
- The subcontractor’s performance is
evaluated periodically and the evaluation reviewed with the subcontractor.
This is described in the Tools & Techniques section of the Administer
Procurements process (Procurement Performance Reviews).
Measurement and Analysis
There is only one measurement: measurements are taken and
used to determine the status of the Procurement Management activities. These measurements
are taken as part of the oversight of the project management activities of the
overall project. They will be provided for in your project plans.
Your Procurement Management activities should be reviewed
with senior management periodically. This can happen at Gate Review meetingsand/or at Steering Committee meetings, and meetings with your sponsor. If you
are managing a project and have a project manager reporting to you on a
software sub-project, you need to meet with them periodically to review their procurement
management activities. This could be part of the agenda for weekly status
review meetings, or require meetings specifically for the purpose. Finally, the
SQA group must review and/or audit the tools and activities used for
Procurement Management. This will only be possible if your organization has an
SQA group. Without an SQA group, your organization may have a PMO or PMC in
which case that group would be responsible for oversight of all areas of
project management, including procurement management, and would conduct project
is very little that a project manager who adheres to the project management
best practices described in the PMBOK® would or could to do to meet the criteria
for the Software Subcontract Management KPA. The one thing outside of the
influence of the project manager is the establishment of a Software Quality
Assurance group. This group is also essential to the Software Quality Assurance
KPA. There is no better way that I know of to demonstrate a grasp of project
management best practices than certification as a Project Management
Professional (PMP®). Project managers who meet PMI’s criteria can attain the certification by taking a PMP Course or similar PMP Exam preparation training and then writing the certification exam.