Behavioural assessment in procurement

Procurement the scourge of so many project and programme managers is often blamed as the root cause of poor value under-performing contractors, and arguments across the supply chain…. But why?

Procurement is an important step in a project or programme lifecycle and can set the foundation for a better way of doing things.


  • Can and should help clients achieve better outcomes and add value to your organisation.
  • Can and should ensure that everyone involved in a project wins
  • Can help reduce risk
  • Can help increase innovation
  • Can establish strong long term relationships

Where do we go wrong?

When it doesn’t work or the results aren’t as good as they could have been it’s often because we forget the grey in amongst the black and white.

The black and white (scope, cost, process) is of course important but we need to consider other sometimes the grey, the more intangible considerations that are required to overcome issues and the ‘bumps’ in the road that so often hit projects in our industry.

We often forget during the procurement process the importance of the individuals that will be doing the work. Specifically we don’t spend enough time looking past their IQ and looking at their Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Behaviours are an important part of any project during design, construction and the operations phase. This is why behaviours should be given more consideration in procurement and also throughout the projects’ lifecycle.

A project team is an ever evolving one, how a team gels together can make a huge difference especially in how they react to adversity and how it creates an environment that encourages innovation.

Innovative clients across the public and private sector have already seen the benefits of behavioural assessment within the tendering process as a driver for building those effective partnerships. Highways England talk to a 20% cost saving attributable to it. So why aren’t we all doing it?

Behavioural assessment was a major part of procurement for the Environmental Agency, Highways England and recently the Thames tideway tunnel and we’re seeing that other mega project such as HS2 will also use Behavioural assessment in their procurement process.

These Mega Projects are more and more being undertaken by joint ventures and alliances, what behavioural assessment in the procurement does is make sure that the required DNA is in place to make these projects successful, and not only achieve the targets but exceed them and to exceed excellence in their performance.

The use of behavioural assessment not only in procurement but throughout the onboarding and delivery process is key to ensure that the right behaviours are embedded within the organisation (both client and supply side) and that the continual challenge to do better is there, pushing greater innovation and better performance.

Much has been written in recent years about collaborative working and the vast potential benefits to clients and the supply chain from sharing information and working more collaboratively.

Behaviours and working in a collaborative way also needs to be encouraged through the way the contract is put together, used and incentivised. Working together collaboratively requires the tools in place to allow it to happen.

BS11000 and digital platforms such as BIM are developing rapidly to support this process, helped by the UK Government’s mandate for level 2 BIM adoption on their projects by 2016.

However, adoption and use of both of these do not guarantee a collaborative project or programme. You still need the right people to drive the process forward. The use of behavioural assessment can help you identify and embed these people.

Ben Pritchard is a consultant at Invennt and past co-Chair of G4C.