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The sourcing manager’s role can be quite arbitrary and is very important especially in Agile and Scrum practicing ones. Traditionally the role of a manager was boxed into middle management and senior management categories who decided the quantity of work that needs to happen and who or how to go about achieving these desired attributes. So should the procurements manager also be Scrum compliant? Should the PO and the team be a part of the procurement strategy as envisioned in Scrum? And, is there a clash between the SM and sourcing manager’s responsibilities? Let’s explore.
Sourcing Manager Vs Product Owner:
Scrum principles have a clear mandate for the SM, PO and the Scrum team. The PO is responsible to bring clarity between the team and the client. As a PO the job role is definitely about the value of the products and customer needs. It also encompasses the work-prioritization schedules which the team self-organizes and executes. It has little to do with the sourcing of items; third-party vendor development etc and the sourcing manager would do well to remember that work-control is part of the Scrum team’s responsibility and does not need delegation of jobs.
Sourcing Manager Vs SM:
The role of the SM is a multi-tasking sourcing manager in the making. The SM role is designated to develop and enhance the self-organized capacities of the team in producing sellable products quickly. As there is a huge area that envelopes the duties already being executed by the SM the sourcing manager would do well to remember that he bats for the management team. He can build value and enable both the SM and team by removing hurdles, ushering in improvements and practicing Scrum values more diligently. He is the enabler and management’s teacher on Scrum Teams.
The Sourcing Manager’s Role:
As part of the mid-level management team, the sourcing manager would need to keep the complete picture in mind and enable the building of great customer experience, rapid quick-release marketable products, and building capacities in the organization. As you ascend to higher levels it becomes more about strategy-making, enabling decisions, and bettering the organizational key parameters and productivity.
It is important for the sourcing manager to understand that to build organizational capacity upwards from the Scrum team, it is vital to enable horizontal capacity building. The Agile principles also place emphasis on customer collaboration and changes being systemic. This does interfere with the important negotiation of contracts. If the sourcing for technology, and product development enablers are product and project related, it will make perfect sense to allow the Scrum team to decide on sourcing.
How to be an Agile sourcing manager:
In Agile practice on a Scrum framework the collaboration of multiple vendor and requirements, delineating the procurement process, collaboration strategy decisions, maintaining cordial relationships between team and vendors and ensuring loyal vendor and customer experiences are goals for every ideal sourcing manager or/and SM. The Scrum teams are then free to take decisions on delegated work achievement in a self-organized and managed manner as a team.
Vendor selection is crucial in sourcing. If from a third-party the negotiation starts with the PO and the need for finance. Procurement applications like the Source web can be very helpful in sourcing. To place emphasis on quality, timely-deliveries, procurement lead-time, vendor capabilities, site requirements, pricing, and such parameters the reverse auction strategy works very well within the Scrum framework.
The true enabler in sourcing is removing the hurdles in terms of financials to enable the Scrum team to perform optimally. Since Scrum and Agile are best practices, that teach everyone on the team to be multi-purpose, multi-tasking and self-enabling progressive team members one will require even the management to be Agile. The main role the sourcing manager would then be a wee bit of the PO, SM and traditional Manager’s role rolled into one!
Conclusions:
The Scrum team activities do not include procurement and the management would need to ensure sourcing, procurement or contracts specialist to fill the sourcing and procurement void. Thus the sourcing manager is the management’s tight rope walker on a Scrum team who ensures the Agile multiple C’s of collaboration, communication, contribution, and management cordiality.
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