CMM and Project Management – Procurement Management

This Key Process Area (KPA) is referred to by CMM/CMMI as Software Subcontract Management, but corresponds to the Procurement Management knowledge area of ​​PMBOK®. The goal is to select vendors who can best meet the project’s labor, product, and budget requirements. Keep in mind that while the PMBOK® paints procurement management activities with a broad brush to cover all industries, CMM/CMMI are only interested in activities related to software subcontractors or software vendors. The procurement management plan must cover all procurements. As with the other KPAs, Software Subcontract Management is broken down into Objectives, Commitments, Capabilities, Activities, Measurements, and Reviews.


The 4 goals of this KPA are:

  1. Qualified software subcontractors are selected by the project manager. This goal is fully supported by the Conduct Procurement process.
  2. The customer and the subcontractor agree on their mutual obligations. The subject of the contract is the contract for the delivery of goods and/or services against payment. The contract (procurement contract award) is the result of the implementation procurement process.
  3. The customer and the subcontractor maintain ongoing communication. There is nothing in the supply management processes that specifically addresses this goal; Scheduling regular review meetings, such as B. performance appraisals, but meets this goal.
  4. The customer tracks the results of the software subcontractor against the commitments. Job performance information, performance reports and performance reviews are all inputs to the procurement process and are used to track results against commitments.

obligation to perform

There are two commitments: that the project follows a written organizational policy for managing the software subcontractor, and that a subcontract manager is appointed to be responsible for creating and managing the software contract. The policy is the responsibility of the organization subcontracting the work, and you or someone you assign the role to is the subcontract manager. Your procurement management plan is not an organizational policy, but replaces one for the project you manage.


You demonstrate your ability to carry out the activities required by your plan by allocating adequate resources and funding to the task of selecting and managing the subcontractor. You are the first resource assigned to the project and all company policies, standards, supplier lists and your supply management plan are also resources. Any manager or other person you engage to select or manage the subcontractor must be adequately trained in this work and briefed on the technical aspects of the contract. How this is done will be described in your human resources management plan. Resources assigned to your project by external organizations such as a procurement group should be trained by that group.

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Activities carried out

  1. Define and plan the work according to the documented procedure and the subcontracted work is described in a Statement of Work (SOW) derived from the project SOW. The documented procedure in this case is your supply management plan. The detailed activities include make-or-buy decisions and the selection of supplier selection criteria. The SOW should also be reviewed and approved by resources working on subcontractor selection and management.
  2. Select the subcontractor based on their ability to carry out the work according to a documented procedure. This is the procurement process outlined in your procurement management plan.
  3. The contract between the customer and the subcontractor is for the management of the subcontractor. This activity includes the specification of the work products that the subcontractor must deliver, criteria they must meet, how changes will be made, acceptance criteria, and how the subcontractor’s performance will be monitored. This is all standard material covered in the Make Procurements and Manage Procurements processes.
  4. The customer reviews and approves the software subcontractor’s development plan. This will be a service that will be addressed in the SOW and the permitting process and conditions for permitting will also be described there.
  5. The subcontractor’s plan is used to track the subcontractor’s activities. Follow-up should be done at status meetings that you conduct with the subcontractor’s project manager.
  6. Changes to the SOW and the subcontractor’s contract are decided according to a documented procedure. This procedure is the contract change control system described in the Manage Procurements process.
  7. The client conducts regular status/coordination discussions with the management of the subcontractor. These are called Procurement Performance Ratings by the PMBOK® and are part of the procurement process management. These should be included in the SOW and held at specified intervals (e.g. once a week) to review the status of the subcontractor’s project. This activity further establishes that deviations from the plan are addressed and conflicts are addressed. Corrective actions are part of the responsibility of the subcontractor PM. Deviations not addressed by this PM would result in conflicts and conflicts are resolved through the claims management tool described in Managing Procurements. The best way to meet these requirements is to ensure that the subcontractor PM is managing your project according to project management best practices (which require corrective action when results deviate from plan). You should also ensure that the PM keeps an action register or issue log to capture any issues you have with the project.
  8. Regular technical checks are carried out with the subcontractor. This activity verifies that the manufactured product meets your requirements and any quality objectives set for it. This activity is described in the Manage Procurements process as Inspections and Audits. Interpret this to mean reviews of functional specifications and detail design documents prepared by the subcontractor, where the requirements captured in your business requirements document are translated into functions and code.
  9. Formal reviews of the subcontractor’s deliverables are conducted at selected milestones. I refer to these formal reviews as gate review meetings, which are held at key milestones throughout the project. The subcontractor can hold their own gate review meetings with you as a key stakeholder, or your gate review meetings alone may suffice. In any case, the services planned for the completed sub-project phase should be checked for completeness and plans, resources, risks, etc. of the coming sub-project phase should also be checked.
  10. Customer’s Software Quality Assurance (SQA) group will monitor subcontractor’s SQA activities according to a documented procedure. This is beyond the scope of your project unless your project also implements 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 by the subcontractor and conduct audits to ensure these activities are carried out.
  11. Your configuration management group oversees the subcontractor’s configuration activities. 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 must include verification that the subcontractor is performing its CM activities according to its plans.
  12. 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 Manage Procurements process in your plan. These should include testing the software (user acceptance testing).
  13. The subcontractor’s performance is regularly evaluated and the evaluation is checked with the subcontractor. This is described in the Tools & Techniques section of the Manage Procurements process (Procurement Performance Reviews).
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measurement and analysis

There is only one measurement: measurements are made and used to determine the status of supply management activities. These measurements are carried out as part of the monitoring of the project management activities of the overall project. They will be taken into account in your project plans.

verification of implementation

Your procurement management activities should be regularly reviewed with senior management. This can be done at gate review meetings and/or steering committee meetings and meetings with your sponsor. If you are leading a project and have a project manager reporting to you on a software sub-project, you need to meet with them regularly to review their supply management activities. This could be part of the agenda for weekly status review meetings or require dedicated meetings for that purpose. Finally, the SQA group must review and/or audit the tools and activities used for procurement management. This is only possible if your organization has an SQA group. Without an SQA group, your organization may have a PMO or PMC. In this case, this group would be responsible for overseeing all aspects of project management, including procurement management, and would conduct project audits.

There is very little that a project manager who adheres to the project management best practices outlined in the PMBOK® would or could do to meet the criteria for the Software Subcontract Management KPA. The only thing outside of the project manager’s control is setting up a software quality assurance group. This group is also essential for Software Quality Assurance KPA. There is no better way that I know of to demonstrate an understanding of project management best practices than the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. Project managers who meet the PMI® criteria can earn certification by completing a PMP® course or similar PMP® exam preparation training and then taking the certification exam.