For Agencies and Individuals

Pathway to Professionalized Procurement

When you're on your career journey in public procurement, it helps to have a path to follow. It also helps to know where you are starting, where you are going, what resources you have available, and what resources you need to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

As with all individual journeys, there are going to be twists and turns along your path. That's why NIGP has created a flexible course to follow, so you can go at your own pace and pursue the things that interest you and will benefit your career the most.

NIGP's path to professionalized practice is designed for agencies and individuals to plan their developmental journey and recognize major milestones as they continue on their way.


Path to Professional Practice Background

The Path to Professional Practice was developed by combining primary academic research with established organizational management theory, the application of Public Procurement Values, Guiding Principles and Practices, and procurement experience in the public and private sectors.

The framework’s foundation is the well-established four principles of management first articulated by Henri Fayol in 1916: Plan, Process, Lead, and Control. We have defined several procurement-relevant themes under each principal management function. The degree to which procurement manages, or does not manage, the various themes reflects the overall developmental maturity of the procurement function in the agency.

In reality, an agency’s procurement function may practice some themes that are consistent with one of the six models and other themes that are more consistent with another of the six models. For example, Agency A may conduct Procurement Planning in a way that closely aligns with the Strategic model of maturity. However, its Contract Management practices may be more reflective of the Process model. This is understandable as agencies develop in different areas and at different rates based on staff, leadership, legislative environment, and budgets.

Just as staff, leadership, legislative environment, and budgets change over time, so too can an agency’s overall approach to procurement. Ongoing development relies on building additional capacities while ensuring that strong established practices do not falter as personnel and operating environments change.

Profiler Essentials

Profiler Self-Assessment

Get Started on Your Path

The first part of your journey is understanding where you are starting from. Know where you currently are on your path to professionalization and what resources you have using these two self-assessments.

Take the profiler essentials self-assessment to identify which type of approach your agency takes to procurement: structured or unstructured.  Through a series of 20 quick questions, this assessment will help you answer the following primary questions to get to the heart of your starting point on the path to professionalization: 

  • Are you protecting your agency from risk?
  • Does your agency have clearly defined procurement processes?
  • How structured is your agency's procurement planning process?
  • Does your agency monitor and control your procurement function?
  • How does your organization’s leadership structure reflect the role of procurement?

Access the Profiler Essentials

This members-only self-assessment is more detailed than the profiler essentials assessment. It will help you clarify what model of procurement your agency is currently using and whether it's the ideal one by identifying the following important elements:

  • An action plan for ongoing development
  • The consequences of your current model
  • Which of the six models of public procurement you are operating
  • Possible alternative models that are more likely to achieve your objectives
  • Whether your current model is appropriate to achieving your agency objectives

Access the Profiler Self-Assessment

Essential Resources for Agency Development

To help agencies build more organized procurement plans and processes, NIGP has mapped our resources to 20 themes spread across the four domains of management practice

PLAN – ORGANIZE – LEAD – CONTROL

NIGP has resources that specifically support development in each area listed below. Click on the themes to find essential resources to help your agency develop.

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Plan

Discover resources to develop a procurement plan that will adequately address your organization's needs now and in the future.

 Centralization

Many agencies don't realize the value that procurement brings to their organization. Find resources to thoroughly understand and guide others on why procurement is essential in entities and for elected public officials.

 Due Diligence

Performing due diligence in procurement is essential when sourcing suppliers for projects. These resources will help agencies identify the best ways to perform due diligence in different procurement situations.

 Policies

Putting procurement policies in place keeps everyone in an entity on the same page when it comes to identifying roles and responsibilities within the procurement function. These resources help agencies develop procurement policies that suit the needs of their organization.

 Procurement Planning

There isn't a one-size-fits-all plan for all types of procurement. Here you'll find resources to help you with procurement planning across different industry sectors.

Risk

Understanding that risks that can threaten your organization is an essential part of procurement planning. These resources will help you understand how to identify, mitigate, and manage different types of risks.

Organize

An organized procurement department can handle anything that comes its way. These resources identify key areas of procurement organization to help your agency optimize its performance.

 Department-Function

Developing a clear outline of how the procurement department should function is essential to ensuring that every department in the agency understands the role and value of procurement. These resources will help procurement identify its role and how it creates value for the agency.

 Maverick Spend

Sometimes, procurement has to step outside of contracts to spend money, known as maverick spending. These resources help you identify the best ways to spend money to get the most value for your agency and the public.

 Monitoring/Analyzing Spend

Knowing how to optimize your budget is key for procurement. Find resources here to help procurement professionals understand the best ways to analyze and control spending for maximum value.

 Processes

Having clear processes outlined for different procurement functions helps agencies stay organized, no matter what the project. These resources will help agencies and procurement professionals create streamlined processes for different types of procurement tasks and projects.

Validation

Understanding how your agency is measuring against your goals is important. It validates your department and enables you to showcase how procurement adds value. These resources will help agencies determine how to manage and measure procurement performance.


Lead

 Alignment with Strategy

How well does your organization's strategy align with its procurement practices? Use these resources to discover new ways of gaining organizational alignment.

 Procurement - CPO Role

The Chief Procurement Officer plays an essential role in entities within the public center. CPOs can use these resources to discover innovative ways to deliver value to their organizations.

 Stakeholder Involvement

Including stakeholders in important decision-making tasks and keeping them updated on progress is an important part of procurement. Find resources that can help your procurement department more effectively communicate with key stakeholders within and outside of your organization.

 Staff

A well-managed procurement staff can effectively tackle projects and will understand how to spend public money wisely. These resources include training tools and leadership courses to help you and your agency's procurement leaders develop and lead a high performing procurement team.

Sustainability

Putting public funds toward sustainable materials is an important part of a procurement professional's job. Discover best practices for using sustainable sources, including how sustainable methods can save on costs.

Control

 Continuous Improvement

Procurement is always changing as new technologies develop and new needs arise. Ensure your agency is continuously improving using these resources and courses.

 Contract Management

Effectively negotiating and managing contracts is an essential part of procurement. Discover the most effective methods to create contracts for a variety of industries. 

 Ethics

Performing procurement tasks ethically is critical for all agencies. Find resources to ensure your agency is taking an ethical approach to all procurement activities.

 Supplier Relationship Management

Building strong relationships with suppliers is key for managing large procurement projects. Explore our collection of resources and courses to help strengthen and manage your relationships with suppliers.

Technology

Procurement professionals who manage technology projects must understand the complexities of technology. These resources help you navigate through IT-related projects, from understanding fundamentals to negotiating with technology companies.