The City of Calgary Marches Forward with new Guidelines and Training for Project Procurement

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The Challenge

In November 2012, The City of Calgary launched its Corporate Project Management Framework (CPMF) program in response to recommendations prepared by the City Auditor’s Office as a result of audits of several major capital projects. In the first two years of the CPMF Program, ten minimum project management standards for capital projects were developed and implemented. In addition to those standards, the CPMF program produced a number of documents to support the integral relationship of project management and contract management. These documents include comprehensive guidelines for alternative contract strategies and The City’s procurement policies and processes. Along with these guidelines, a CPMF project delivered contracting and procurement training recommendations for City project managers.

In August, 2013, The City issued an RFP seeking the services of a curriculum development and training delivery organization to develop and deliver a comprehensive procurement and contract management training program to City employees, to develop and increase their competence to procure and manage contracts. The Procurement School was the successful respondent to the RFP and awarded the contract to develop the program.

The Procurement School Response

The first phase of the project was critical. The Procurement School embarked on a thorough needs analysis to ensure that The City training program would enable the desired performance outcomes and meet the needs of the target audience. The analysis also identified any non-training issues affecting performance and detailed recommendations to enable the desired outcomes.

As a result of the needs analysis, a competency framework and gap analysis was presented along with detailed training and non-training solutions. This led to a customized version of The Procurement School PSPP 101 course being developed and piloted to City project managers in June of 2014. Detailed feedback was gathered from the initial group of students, and the course was then further tailored into the final 2-day classroom workshop for ongoing delivery. In addition, experts from Supply and Legal are joining the classes to answer questions and provide updates as to progress and changes affecting procurement at the City.

Proven Value

Due to its initial success, The City has continued to offer the workshop for project managers and has opened up registration to other procurement and contracting staff as well. They are also considering an online delivery option for the course in future to help best serve staff learning needs for the long-term.

The City representatives organizing the training have received excellent feedback about the value of the training, especially from project managers. Here are some of the comments from participant evaluations:

“The best part of this course was the relevance to how The City of Calgary manages an RFx and contracts.”

“Great course which will really help PMs at The City understand the procurement process.”

“The instructor was very knowledgeable and the content was full of info. One of the best City courses I have attended.”

“Great content. Excellent facilitator and credible.”

Fast Forward

In 2016 The Procurement School developed a customized online PSPP 101 course which was launched by the City of Calgary in the spring and is hosted by The Procurement School. City procurement staff and Project Managers now have access to comprehensive online, self-directed training on a just-in-time basis.  With increased flexibility and no travel time required, the City can maximize training budgets and increase the availability of high quality educational opportunities provided to City staff.

Forward Thinking

What if you could get the most out of your budget without sacrificing the quality of goods and services delivered to your organization?

What if you could clearly demonstrate return on investment for your training dollars?


We help organizations ensure their procurement professionals remain up to date on new developments and best practices.

The Procurement School offers customizable training based on the unique needs of the organization and the current procurement legal and business landscape. Value is delivered through courses, curriculum consulting, and ongoing communications such as our newsletter which now incorporates The Legal Edge.

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