Manage the acquisition of products and services from suppliers


Establishes organizational expectations for establishing, maintaining, and satisfying supplier agreements.


The scope of Supplier Agreement Management addresses the acquisition of products, services, and product and service components that can be delivered to the project’s customer or included in a product or service system.

Supplier Agreement Management practices can also be used for other purposes that benefit the project (e.g., purchasing consumables). This process does not apply in all contexts in which commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components are acquired but does apply in cases where there are modifications to COTS components, government off-the-shelf components, or freeware, that are of significant value to the project or that represent significant project risk.

Throughout the process, where the terms “product” and “product component” are used, their intended meanings also encompass services, service systems, and their components.

The Supplier Agreement Management process area involves the following activities:

    • Determining the type of acquisition
    • Selecting suppliers
    • Establishing and maintaining agreements with suppliers
    • Executing supplier agreements
    • Accepting delivery of acquired products
    • Ensuring successful transition of acquired products

Supplier Agreement Management primarily addresses the acquisition of products and product components that are delivered to the project’s customer.

Examples of products and product components that can be acquired by the project include the following:

    • Subsystems (e.g., navigational system on an airplane)
    • Software
    • Hardware
    • Documentation (e.g., installation, operator’s, and user’s manuals)
    • Parts and materials (e.g., gauges, switches, wheels, steel, raw materials)

To minimize risks to the project, the Supplier Agreement Management can also address the acquisition of significant products and product components not delivered to the project’s customer but used to develop and maintain the product or service (for example, development tools and test environments).

Typically, the products to be acquired by the project are determined during the early stages of planning and development.

The Technical Solution process area provides practices for determining the products and product components that can be acquired from suppliers.

Supplier Agreement Management does not directly address arrangements in which the supplier is integrated into the project team and uses the same processes and reports to the same management as the project team members (e.g., integrated teams). Typically, these situations are handled by other processes or functions (e.g., project management processes, processes, or functions external to the project) though some of the specific practices of this process area can be useful in managing the supplier agreement.

Supplier Agreement Management typically is not implemented to address arrangements in which the project’s customer is also a supplier. These situations are usually handled by either informal agreements with the customer or by the specification of the customer-furnished items in the overall agreement that the project has with the customer. In the latter case, some of the specific practices of this process area can be useful in managing the agreement, although others may not, due to the fundamentally different relationship that exists with a customer as opposed to an ordinary supplier.

Suppliers can take many forms depending on business needs, including in-house suppliers (i.e., suppliers that are in the same organization but are external to the project), fabrication departments, suppliers of reuse libraries, and commercial suppliers.

A supplier agreement is established to manage the relationship between the organization and the supplier. A supplier agreement is any written agreement between the organization (representing the project) and the supplier. This agreement can be a contract, license, service level agreement, or memorandum of agreement. The acquired product is delivered to the project from the supplier according to the supplier agreement.

Entrance Criteria:

  • Preferred Supplier Lists
  • Requirements Tracking Tools
  • Project Management and Scheduling Programs

Exit Criteria:

  • Statements of Work
  • Supplier Agreements
  • Memorandum of Agreement
  • Subcontracts
  • Preferred Supplier Lists

Process and Procedures:

Tailoring Guidelines:

Organizations may choose to purchase a supplier agreement management process and procedures rather than develop them.  Using the Causal Analysis and Resolution process, they can tailor the process to fit their organization.

Process Verification Record(s):

  • Results of supplier reviews
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  • Trade studies used to select suppliers
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  • Revision history of supplier agreements
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  • Supplier performance reports
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  • Number of changes made to the requirements for the supplier
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  • Cost and schedule variance by the supplier agreement
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  • Schedule for selecting a supplier and establishing an agreement
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