05 Aug The Project Manager’s Role in Avoiding Procurement Delays

Michael P. Fischetti, Executive Director of the National Contract Management Association, wrote an interesting article that asked the question–Contracting Officers: The Weakest Link?

He essentially argued that since COs have top-level authority and wide latitude in acquisition success, they should be to blame for bad projects. But only to the extent that they are really just a link in a larger process with other team members all with additional senior level oversight.

I couldn’t agree more. But, my perspective is from that of the Program or Project Manager, who I believe can help reel in the acquisition process, especially with regard to schedule. PMs need to approach COs and get them to document their inputs and outputs that define the procurement activities in the master schedule of any program. Too often, PMs do not really start managing until award or they blame “contracting” for delays to their project starts. Many times, PMs fail to achieve buy-in from the contracting staff activities on the master schedule, and then track and report any procurement delays in real time. When a project schedule starts at project inception, and includes the procurement phase activities before award, a project is most successful. And if contracting is to blame for a delayed award, all stakeholders can look back to see where in the schedule the problems occurred and then make necessary corrective actions in conjunction with contracting team for the next program.

Leigh Valudes

Leigh Valudes leads the Solutions Division, which focuses on Markon’s core competencies—Facilities, Acquisition, Finance, and Security. He is responsible for quality control, branded solutions, and Markon University. During his 19-year consulting experience, Mr. Valudes developed expertise in strategic planning, mission analysis, requirements programming, facilities project management, design and construction management, business operations, and strategic marketing. For most of his career, Mr. Valudes has been embedded directly with the client at secure government sites, providing owner representative services to agencies such as DoD, DIA, ODNI, NRO, DHS, FBI, and GSA. He has also supported commercial, state and local governments, and university clients. During his first five years with Markon, Mr. Valudes served as Program Manager for one of Markon’s largest contracts, the Intelligence Community Campus – Bethesda (ICC-B), leading an on-site 18-person program management team to redevelop the former National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Headquarters. Before joining Markon, Mr. Valudes supported world-class programs such as the $5.5B Pentagon Renovation Program and the $4B DHS Headquarters Campus Program. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware majoring in both government and history and graduated from American University’s Washington National Semester Program with a focus on national and foreign policy. Mr. Valudes is a Project Management Institute (PMI)-certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds a LEED AP certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).