Collaborative Project Procurement Arrangements


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Derek H.T. Walker, Ph.D. RMIT University, Centre for Integrated Project Solutions, Melbourne, Australia

Beverley May Lloyd-Walker, Ph.D. RMIT University, Centre for Integrated Project Solutions, Melbourne, Australia



Project Procurement
Collaborative PM

This research aims to narrow the project procurement knowledge gaps and to enhance collaborative approaches to project procurement. It also provides the set of knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience required for a PM and project owners. The research confirms that education on those areas seems to be a success factor for project management.


“This research focuses on collaborative project procurement arrangements, mainly in the construction and infrastructure industry sector”

This research focuses on collaborative project procurement arrangements, mainly in the construction and infrastructure industry sector. The main goal is to develop new knowledge, skills, attributes and experience by comparing and contrasting Relationship-based Procurement (RBP) forms around the globe. The outcome potentially influences any future development of the PM competency framework (PMI, 2007).


The study drew on a variety of data sources: literature review, government and industry reports from UK and Australia, authors' previous research, and interviews with 14 academics and 36 experts practitioners. As a way to validate the results, preliminary conclusions were presented at several conferences and distributed to academic and practitioner experts, improving the manuscript.


“Collaboration is needed for project teams to gather relevant, salient and timely information for planning and decision-making.”

The first outcome of this research is a summary of the family of terms used for RBP in several regions of the world.

Collaboration is needed for project teams to gather relevant, salient and timely information for planning and decision-making. Orders of collaboration suggest varying levels of interaction. First order collaboration centers on “getting on with the job”, the tasks at hand. Collaboration is focused upon teams in the immediate vicinity of any issues being resolved (e.g. correcting a design problem, preparing plans, translating design into delivery etc.) so there is little collaboration beyond those immediately involved. Second order collaboration involves first agreeing to protocols and partnering agreements. Forms of third order collaboration are highly process and common platform influenced. Collaboration and coordination are also governed and influenced by enabling platforms such as being co-located, sharing a common IT platform, maintaining common insurance that may require specific collaborative conditions and project governance arrangements. Fourth order collaboration adds an important focus on committed relationships, and relates to project and program alliances.

The PMI competency framework, understandably closely linked to its recently revised PMBOK™, still focuses overwhelmingly on the assumption that PM is predominantly a process activity. The PMI competency framework has not adequately caught up with an emerging emphasis on projects being initiated for non-commercial reasons to reflect emerging and exciting directions of PM that are responding to greater identification with financial, environmental and social bottom lines benefits.

A number of the knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience that have been identified for PM success:

Hard Skills:

img  Technical Skills and experience

img  PM skills and experience

img  Business skills and experience

Soft Skills:

img  Reflectiveness, systems thinking, strategic think-aim-act versus act-think-aim.

img  Pragmatism, getting on with the job, political astuteness, working within constraints.

img  Resilience, adaptability, versatility, flexibility and persistence.

img  Wisdom. To be effective, the key is to be influential based on providing sound advice and being respected for that advice or being an effective broker of wise advice.

img  Spirit. Having the courage to effectively challenge assumptions.

img  Business skills and experience

img  Authenticity. Approachable and trustworthy, seen as open to ideas, collaboration, discussion and new ways of thinking.


Implications for the Project Owner and the Project Owner Representatives: The PMI Competency Framework (PMI, 2007), as with many other guides , omit considering the project owner or his representative, and the knowledge, skills, attributes, and experiences that they need to effectively engage in more complex forms of project delivery. Having the same knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience as a professional project manager would be ideal because that would enable more complete understanding and perspective taking ability to occur which should facilitate a more effective exploration of project design and delivery options.

Implications for Project Managers and their Team Members' Education and Skills Development: What becomes apparent is that in moving beyond the baseline technical and PM knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience required for a PMP and similar qualifications for the IPMA, the research shows an increasing need for project managers to have business solution and relational knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience.


Walker D. H. T. and Lloyd-Walker B. M. Project Procurement Arrangements. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute, Inc., 2015.


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From Academia: Summaries of New Research for the Reflective Practitioner | May 2015


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