Administer Procurements

With excerpts from my Project Management Novel, I will illustrate the many processes of the PMBOK.  Here is the thirty-second one: Administer Procurements. Use this map to see how this process fits into the scheme of processes.  Administer Procurements


First to arrive the next morning was the neighboring farmer who had agreed to transplant the trees. He was a tall, reedy man with a long beard and sky-blue eyes. “Show me de trees you vant moved,” he said on arrival.

While Grainne left to find her sisters and the children explored the farm and the surrounding neighborhood, Gwilym took the farmer into the orchard and indicated the trees that had to be removed for the tower, plus the additional ones required to provide access to it. The farmer examined them closely. “Dese are old trees. Dey should not haf any any more life. See de ones around dem? Much younger. Apple trees only live forty years before dey stop apples producing. Dese trees hundreds of years old are. Dey can’t be much apples producing. Best let dem die.”

“That’s not an option. Are you sure they are not producing?”

The farmer looked up from the thick trunks to the branches and straightened up. “God-fer-dicky!” he exclaimed. “Dis tree more buds dan any of de ozzer trees has. It a good producer is.” He walked around the rest of the orchard and kept returning to the trees scheduled for removal. “All of dese trees are de best producers. But dey de oldest trees are. I understand not at all. But you are right, dese trees you should move. But easy it von’t be.”

“What I’d like would be for you to prepare for them to be removed, then prepare the ground they will sit in, but leave the actual moving to me,” said Gwilym. “You can come back in two days to replant them.

The farmer pulled a piece of parchment out of his breeches pocket and opened it up. “It says right here, in dis procurement document you gafe me, dat I am to remove forty trees, wizout damaging dem, and about one hundred feet avay replant dem. Now, I get here and I find dat I haf to dig dem up but not pull dem out, come back anoder day and plant dem. I suppose I haf to teach you how to keep dem alive while dey are not in de ground?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Gwilym. “That would help tremendously.”

“Two days ago, ven you came to me about your tower, you vere bragging about the way you plan and conduct procurements, but today, ven it comes time to administer procurements, everzing apart falls. Ve had filled out a contract and now it is no good.”

“Sir, I promise I will treat you fairly…” he began but was interrupted.

“Promises are no good! I vant a piece of paper that proves to me I von’t be cheated!”

“I’ll pay you in advance…”

“And tell your king later I cheated you?! I don’t zink so. Ve must de contract change.”

Gwilym mulled this over, then said, “We have a change control process we can use for this. We could easily convert it to a contract change control system.”

“Dat’s good! Den you can run dis change request zrough your system and de contract to de new terms change. Also, I vant to be sure you are happy viz de vork so you must do inspections and my performance I vill report. I vill give you an invoice for de vork and for de money paid I vill a receipt give you. Dat vay nobody can come along later and say one of us cheated de ozzer.”

Gwilym was staring at the man, agog. His first inclination was to protest that all this paperwork was unnecessary for a two-day job, but he resisted that. The system the farmer was proposing was perfect for managing the larger procurements on this project such as quarry work. He wished it had been in place for some of his previous towers, it would have saved a lot of arguments. So he reached out his hand for the farmer to clasp and told him, “It shall be exactly as you propose. Come into the barn and we’ll draw up all these papers.”