Agile Procurement: A glittering promise or an auditor's nightmare?

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DateTuesday 8th November 2011

12.15 pm Lunch and registration
1.00 pmStart
5.30 pm Finish

VenueTrafalgar Events, 8-9 Northumberland Street, London, WC2N 5DA
CPDup to 5 hours ( find out more about CPD)

APM members £54.00
Non members £67.50

The challenge : How do we deliver projects twice as fast for half the money and twice the performance? Especially when constrained by procurement rules and traditional contracts that can inhibit, rather than help?

Background : Agile is an increasingly popular collection of related project management methodologies, which are designed for projects where a high degree of change is foreseen. This could be because end user requirements will change or cannot be fully defined; technological advance and the need for a progressive implementation and harvesting of benefits as opposed to a ‘big bang’ implementation event sometimes years after the original, now out of date, rationale for the project was conceived. The agile manifesto emphasises:

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working solutions* over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan”

with the footnote that “while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

(*The original manifesto says 'software' instead of 'solutions'. We have changed this wording to reflect the wider focus of the conference.)

The problem for traditional procurement, particularly in the public sector, is that by the time a procurement exercise has been conducted, the requirement has changed or evolved. The problem with traditional contracting approaches is that lawyers’ desire for legal certainty in the contract and its administration does not reflect the real world context of the project i.e. rapid change with very little certainty. It is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Objectives of the conference
: This conference is not about agile project management for software projects. It is about developing the procurement methods and usable contracts to be suitable for agile projects, whatever sector they are in. It will answer the following critical questions:

 How do we engage with and select suppliers fast enough in a rapidly changing world ?
 What type of contracts give us the flexibility and speed of execution without leaving clients to vulnerable to abuse?

The presenters – who have devoted considerable to time to developing workable solutions - will give their solutions to the challenges, whereupon the audience will be invited to give feedback to which the presenters respond.

The Agenda includes:

Scene setting: drivers to do something different: Brian Wernham, National Audit Office
Lean procurement: Roy Ayliffe, National Audit Office
What is the difference between agile projects and traditional projects?: Gabrielle Benefield, Scrum Training Institute
Exercise: What are the challenges to introducing agile wrt procurement and contracts?: Gabrielle Benefield and Jon Broome
The evolutionary contract model: Susan Atkinson, gallenalliance solicitors
How can we make the procurement process more agile? Kelvin Prescott, Newbury Management Consultants
Inhibitors and solutions to agile procurement (in government): Vincent King and Jonathan Branton, Cobbetts
Q & A with all speakers


Roy Ayliffe is Head of Commerce at the National Audit Office (NAO), is responsible for NAO procurement, commercial advice and subletting. With 37 years experience in procurement, he was CIPS Professional Practice Director (1998 & 2009), where he was responsible for the procurement profession's thought-leadership/knowledge-development and its representation to government, the EU & private sector CEOs, including as the CIPS media spokesman on the UK economy and procurement issues.

Brian Wernham is ICT Lead at the National Audit Office and is responsible for Value For Money assessment reviews in several key government programmes that will be published later this year. Prior to joining the NAO, Brian was responsible for managing several large government programmes. He will co-host the event and set the scene for the need for change.

Dr Jon Broome is chair of the APM’s Contracts and Procurement SIG and managing consultant of leading edge projects consulting ltd. As well as being an accomplished facilitator, he has been at the leading edge of a number of procurement initiatives in the defence, shipbuilding, mining and aerospace sectors, as well as his ‘home’ sector of engineering and construction. He will co-host and chair the event.

Gabrielle Benefield has over 20 years experience in Agile transformations, is part of the Scrum Alliance and is a founder of the Scrum Foundation . Her specialism is product strategy and organisational transformation programmes from diverse industries including finance, telecommunications, energy and gaming. She is co-author of The Scrum Primer and is currently co-authoring a book on the Agile and Lean Contract Model.

Susan Atkinson is a Legal Director in the London office of gallenalliance Solicitors.She is a commercial lawyer, focusing on IT, outsourcing, e-commerce, intellectual property and payment services. Susan has taken a particular interest in Agile and Lean, and together with Gabrielle Benefield (and with input from other thought leaders in this area) has developed the evolutionary contract model.

Kelvin Prescott is a an expert in IT procurement, outsourcing, and contract negotiation. He has spent much of last decade working with organisations to deliver better customer-supplier relationships. Prior to founding Newbury Management Consultants , Kelvin had a successful career with PA Consulting, where he provided commercial advice on some of the largest public and private sector IT deals in the 2000's.

Vincent King is a partner in Cobbetts' public sector and projects team. He acts for public and private sector clients on PFI and PPP projects, joint ventures and outsourcing arrangements.

Jonathan Branton heads Cobbetts EU Competition and Procurement team and specialises in advising contracting authorities on procedural compliance and challenges. He advises in particular on the application of the procurement rules and the flexibilities within them.