The procurement process is repetitive, and although most steps are fairly easy to remember, missing or forgetting small things in the process can lead to misinterpretation of your actions as a procurement practitioner and public official.
Especially when you are a beginner, you need to find a way to remember the things that need to be done so that you can begin to gain a certain degree of independence and require reduced supervision over time.
Given that procurement is a step by step process, it is better to use checklists rather than rely on your memory to ensure all the steps are covered. This is especially important because in public procurement any mistake could be misinterpreted as intentional action on your part to favor a particular bidder, and this is something you want to avoid at all cost because not only will it put your credibility in question, but it will also affect the public’s perception of the integrity of the procuring entity and the Government.
Developing and using checklists can be a great help to increasing your understanding of the procurement process and to lessen mistakes you could make if you forget certain important steps. Also, by quickly learning the basic elements of the procurement process and how to successfully carry them out, you will acquire a better understanding and be more confident of your ability to learn, and this may open doors to opportunities for enhancing your career as a procurement practitioner.
Types of public procurement checklists
As a beginner, you may wonder how you will be able to develop checklists and on what. But you can develop checklists as you learn about the procurement process and verify your notes with whoever is teaching you the process. You can also consult the procurement manuals or guidelines at your disposal.
You can develop a checklist to help you remember the basic steps of the procurement and contract administration process. This would be a general checklist briefly covering the following:
- Need identification
- Specification development
- Market research
- Procurement planning and scheduling
- Requesting and receiving offers
- Evaluation offers
- Contract award
- Managing the contract
Additionally, it would be immensely beneficial if you would develop a detailed checklist of each of the steps in the procurement and contract administration process. As you are learning each, you should write down all the steps used to identify a procurement need, steps for developing a specification, steps for preparing a procurement plan, steps for preparing solicitation documents, and so on. By doing this, you will have written down all the details related to the entire procurement process.
Besides the above, I’ve found checklist particularly useful for ensuring procurement records are well maintained and as a reminder of any record that may be missing from the files. For a basic overview on creating a checklist for record keeping, go here.
Developing a checklist can involve a considerable amount of work, but the time invested is well worth it because you’ll then have a tool that can be used for quite some time with minor modifications for improvement or changes in the procurement rules.
You should make an effort to prepare checklists on whatever you are learning and to verify them with whoever is training and mentoring you. Better yet, you should encourage your trainer to use checklists when teaching the procurement process and share them with you for future use. But rather than rely solely on checklists developed by others, you should make an effort to develop them yourself as part of the learning process and they will not only help you to better understand the procurement process, but to remember the essential steps to effective public procurement management.
Have you used checklists before? What has been your experience using checklists? Leave a comment.