Author: Megan Smyth

Agile Procurement

Is Agile the Answer?

“We used waterfall to put a man on the moon, so it can’t be that bad,” said Aldila Lobo, Principal with Deloitte Consulting. This line certainly got a laugh from the crowd at NASPO’s Exchange conference in New York City – but it holds a fair amount of truth as well. “Waterfall” is the non-modular procurement methodology that originated in the construction and manufacturing arenas and became popular as a method for software development and procurement. The process of development literally flows from one stage to the next. Agile, on the other hand, focuses on flexibility, continuous improvement, an embrace of change, speed, and satisfied customers. Agile comes not in stages that build on one another, but in sprints, where pieces of the larger puzzle are developed one at a time.
While Agile development and procurement methods have taken hold as an elegant solution to decades-old problems, the simple truth is what Aldila alluded to – that sometimes, for some types of procurements, waterfall is still best. However, Agile and other modular procurement methods do two things that make it easier to manage large developments: they segment risk and increase transparency. While Agile and modular procurement aren’t just for information technology procurement and software development, those are the most popular applications.

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NASPO Exchange

Ten Things Your Procurement Officer Wants You to Know

A unique aspect of NASPO’s Exchange conference is the opportunity it provides to state members and suppliers to come together and have open and honest conversation in a “safe space,” where no ideas are bad, and no questions are stupid. It is a learning and thinking environment that lends itself to useful and edifying conversations that might not otherwise take place. The session “Ten Things Your Procurement Officer Wants You to Know,” led by Stacy Gregg, Procurement Manager from the State of South Carolina, really seized the moment Exchange creates and used it to convey some hard-won truths to the supplier community in attendance.
In an overflowing room, Stacy walked through the “ten things” with care and precision – taking questions along the way and allowing CPOs and other procurement officials in the room to chime in with additional viewpoints and advice. Her list included insightful quotations from her fellow public procurement officials and is presented with many of those insights below:

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News

Welcome to Procurement Pulse!

Welcome to Procurement Pulse!
Procurement by federal, state, and local governments in the United States amounts to $7 trillion dollars of annual spend, and state procurement makes up a significant portion of that number. With a dollar amount that contains that many zeros (twelve of them, to be exact), it’s not hard to see why discussing and sharing ideas on best practices and emerging issues in state procurement is of utmost importance.
NASPO’s Procurement Pulse aims to be your go-to resource for emerging and horizon issues in state procurement. NASPO staff and members will be bringing you engaging and relevant content on a myriad of procurement issues, including, but not limited to NASPO’s Top Ten Priorities for State Procurement and Top 3 Horizon Issues. Check out these key rankings for 2018 straight from state Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) at the bottom of this post.
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Agile Procurement

Top Five Ways to Make Modular Procurement Work

If you’ve ever been faced with the frustrating situation of having a Phillips head screwdriver in hand when you actually need a flathead, then you know what it’s like to not have the right tool when you need it. To deal with the myriad of issues they face on an almost daily basis, state procurement officials need all the tools they can get their hands on, and modular or iterative procurement is a key addition to the toolbox.
Modular and Agile methods can be game-changers in procurement offices, especially when it comes to IT procurement. Recently, NASPO and NASCIO joined forces by bringing State Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs and State Chief Information Officers (CIOs) together to talk about how to improve IT procurement. One of the key recommendations of the task force of CPOs and CIOs was to “use iterative/non-waterfall procurement methodologies when appropriate to improve procurement cycles, add flexibility, and reduce risk.” Everyone agrees that Agile and other iterative procurement methods are the future of state procurement… but how do we get there from here?
The road to true iterative procurement can be a rocky one, and if a state procurement office doesn’t plan well, those rocks can turn into boulders. It is key to think through the switch-over to non-waterfall methods, communicate with staff and key stakeholders about the changes being made, and constantly re-evaluate whether what is happening is working toward the betterment of the procurement process.
Here are five tips to making modular and iterative procurement methods work in your state office: Read more “Top Five Ways to Make Modular Procurement Work”