Incremental Discovery

February 3rd, 2014

Vital concepts to understand during your development process within procurement projects.

Today’s Post is by Michael Figueroa, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.

A procurement project’s development is a back and forth of exploration until all parties have a full understanding of each other. There will be extrenous variables that the procurement profesional will be unaware of, but as long as this is understood it doesn’t have to be a liability. These variables could be unspoken goals of the purchasing party, compliance issues buried under complexity of the law, unspecified product codes, private price forcasting data, unidentified exclusive corporate business agreements, usage, location, or price data, etc etc.

During the process to draw this information out, it will be discovered that there is additional information needed that you never even knew you needed until you asked a completely unrelated question. This is why developing a procurement project often occurs through incremental steps of discovery.

For instance, your first foray into the process may be to ask what the product or service is, what the spend is, and where it’s geographically located. During this first step you will identify NEW variables that need to be informed in your next step, which will uncover new variables to be informed for the next step, and so on. Each time you have a new conference call, sit down meeting, or document draft, the understanding between parties will increase with diminishing returns and with greater amount of detail:

  1. First draft: Understand 60%, Need 40% clarification
  2. Second draft: Understand 80%, Need 20% clarification
  3. Third draft: Understand 95%, Need 5% clarification
  4. Etc etc.

Your goal in the process should be learn what questions need to be answered. Starting with the wrong questions will often lead to developing a project where no one is even aware that you don’t have full understanding because of assumptions made through a SME’s own confirmation bias. Often times the purchaser and the supplier have many assumptions that are unique to their company or industry. It’s our job as procurement professionals to find them out, but if we don’t understand the key concepts behind how knowledge transfer works, we’re bound to make costly ommisions.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist your team this process or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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