Is Project Procurement Management a Misnomer?

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102 In Chapter 12 of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), the knowledge area of Project Procurement Management is documented as a part of the process framework.  The knowledge area is all about contracting – contracting (as a buyer) for materials or services needed by a project, but also contracting (as a seller) to deliver project services to a customer.  In fact, contracting in the form of partnerships or teaming agreements is also covered by this knowledge area.

The general understanding of the term “procurement” is buying a product or service.  In the general sense, the name Project Procurement Management seems misleading, then, since other aspects of selling and partnerships are also covered.  Maybe this knowledge area would be better named Project Contract Management?  Would this approach lend to greater understanding on the part of the Project Management Professional (PMP®) Exam candidate?   Hmmmm…

A deeper word study into the term “procurement” results in a new understanding, beyond the general sense.  According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law (Merriam-Webster, Inc.), the term “procure” means “to obtain, induce, or cause to take place.”  “Procurement” means “the purchasing, leasing, renting, or selling of materials, services, equipment, or construction.”  This quick word study indicates that “procurement” is MORE than just acting or contracting as a buyer.

Maybe the name of this knowledge area is NOT a misnomer.  However, one might consider this area to be all about contracts related to a project.  This simple understanding may help in your preparation for the PMP® Exam, but do not forget that the formal and correct name of this knowledge area is Project Procurement Management!