NCMA Strategic Plan

Our Mission, Vision, and Values

I. Our Mission

NCMA’s mission is to advance the contract management profession through advocacy and the execution of programs to connect NCMA members and enable their professional development.

II. Our Vision for the Profession

Contract management will be viewed by all organizations and leaders — public and private — as an essential business management function that directly contributes to organizational success.

Professionals will recognize contract management as a challenging, rewarding and essential career, and will prepare for and seek out positions in the profession.

Universities will recognize the critical role of contract management and provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs and courses designed to prepare students for entry into or advancement in the contract management profession.

Industry, government, and academia recognizes a set of standards that are required for performance and advancement in the contract management career field.

III. Our Vision for the Organization

NCMA will lead in defining the standards and the body of knowledge for the contract management profession.

NCMA will provide advocacy, training, education, and certifications that enable the entry, development, and advancement of all contract management professionals.

NCMA will be a model for not-for-profit individual membership organizations; recognized for innovation, effective, and efficient operations; and agile responsible governance and active engagement in the contract management profession.

NCMA will be a recognized as the premier organization for connecting, educating, and certifying contract management professionals.

IV. Our Value Propositions

NCMA’s strength lies in our loyal and diverse base of membership representing the full spectrum of contract management professionals across government, industry, academia, and the nonprofit sector.

NCMA provides:

  • A neutral forum to gain knowledge, share perspectives, and build a network of professional contacts across the contract management community.

     

  • The tools, resources, educational content, and leadership opportunities for each member to enhance their performance, career, expertise, and accomplishments.

     

  • Professional certification that validates their skills and experience.

     

  • Access to the latest knowledge and thought leadership from corporate and government executives on topics relevant to the contract management community.

     

  • Employer access to skilled contract management professionals, learning resources, best practices, and metrics for the profession.

     

  • The Contract Management Standard and Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK) to members to researchers, consultants, trainers, recruiters, advertisers, and universities for the purpose of advancing the profession. 

V. Our Values

We are committed to:

  • Principled professional conduct and achievement, as dictated by our Code of Ethics;
  • An open exchange of ideas in a neutral forum;
  • A culturally and professionally diverse membership;
  • Excellence in everything we do, especially our service to our members and the contract management community;
  • Continuing education, training, and leadership opportunities through a network of local chapters;
  • Remaining the preeminent source of professional development for contract professionals;
  • Recognizing and rewarding professional excellence and superior individual achievement in support of the contract management profession;
  • Demonstrated professional achievement through certification;
  • Quality volunteer leadership; and
  • Members’ highly principled freedom of action and responsibility to the people and organizations they serve.

 

VI. Environmental Trends

In establishing the strategies and objectives for the future of the profession and our association, we expect the following trends to be most impactful:

1. The demand for high-quality CM talent continues to exceed the supply. This is the result of two major factors. First, significant demands have been placed upon the size of the acquisition workforce as a result of significant increases in federal spending to deal with the wars on terror, disasters and economic recovery investment, and the maturation and retirement of the baby boom generation. Second, due to the extensive and complex business process, legal and regulatory knowledge required to perform CM tasks, new entries in contract management take up to three years to become functional even at a limited level. The “front door” to the profession through traditional undergraduate degree programs that prepare individuals for entry into a profession is very limited.

2. Changes in the U.S. federal legislative, regulatory, and budgetary environment will continue at a high pace. The volume, complexity, and frequency of changes in legislation and regulations affecting the acquisition process continue to make staying current a difficult challenge for the typical association member. Expectations that federal funds will be spent with increased transparency, accountability, and oversight place even greater demands on CM professionals. The increasing trend to adopt “category management” approaches to buying will also challenge CM professionals. 

3. The profession of “contract management” is broader than traditionally addressed by NCMA. CM includes both the buyer and seller side, as well as the supply chain procurement/sourcing functions at all tiers. State and local government procurement shares a great deal of commonality with both federal buyer-seller procurement processes and the more commercial-like supply chain procurement processes.

4. CM professionals are defining “career” differently. Whereas once professionals viewed their career progression as a linear path, with options for growth and advancement limited to within their field. Many CM professionals now view their careers as a non-linear, finding many more opportunities for professional growth and advancement by branching off into parallel or adjacent careers such as finance, project management, and logistics. Likewise, within the contract management profession, professionals are increasingly looking for advancement by moving between agencies and specialties. For example, professionals today are increasingly comfortable moving among civilian agencies, DOD, universities, state or local opportunities, and moving among specialties such as weapon systems, IT, construction, services, R&D contracting. This drives the continual need for upgrading and expanding their skills.

5. A general downward trend in membership in professional organizations. In general, membership in associations, such as NCMA, has leveled off and, in some instances, started to decline. This does not mean people are not interested in professional development, but rather they are seeking out development from a variety of sources and media. They do not necessarily feel the need to “join” an association to benefit from it as a one of their sources of professional development. The ready availability of professional information on the Internet reduces the need to join an association solely to obtain professional information. Government members continue to struggle with justifying their membership in spite of recent policy statements regarding participation in professional associations.

6. Employers continue to fund a significant percentage of association memberships. Employer financial support is the number-three reason people renew memberships; without employer support, association membership might be significantly reduced. Employers need to be satisfied with what NCMA has to offer and be able to articulate the “professional development” return on their annual membership investment. 

7. Employers do not yet fully appreciate the value of an NCMA certification. While the NCMA certification program is well known, it has not yet achieved the level of recognition and significance of other better-known professional certifications. Members report that employers are not using certifications as a differentiator in the interview and selection process. Federal government CM professionals frequently express their concern over the difficulty in rationalizing the value of an NCMA certification over or in addition to a DAWIA/FAC-C certification. Employers may view certifications as solely a measure of detailed technical knowledge and not the more valued organizational and leadership skills. 

8. A majority of members see NCMA as a great source for their professional development. Seventy-five percent of our members look to NCMA as a source of professional development, and they consistently state they renew their membership to stay current in the profession. That development may come through the magazine, journal, or other publication; or through seminars, conferences, or other media. The members consistently rank networking as an important professional development benefit of NCMA.

9. The chapter model continues to have support among members. Members continue to highly value the chapter model for networking, face-to-face learning, and professional education and development. In spite of the general decline in membership trends, members see this as a unique benefit of NCMA. 

10. The CM professional will be strongly influenced by technology advancements. Whether it’s just increased reliance upon email, the internet, web-based training, electronic bidding, or networking through social media, the CM professional will be strongly affected by the rapid acceleration of technology utilization. 

VII. Objectives and Strategies

Responding to these external and internal forces, the association will strive to accomplish the following objectives during the succeeding five program years:

1. Develop and institutionalize an effective advocacy and outreach program that provides a neutral forum for the profession. The desired outcomes for this objective are public recognition that CM is an essential business management function, and public recognition that NCMA is the preeminent neutral forum for contracting professionals.

2. Create standards for the profession that are widely recognized and adopted. The desired outcome for this objective is for NCMA’s standards to be accepted across multiple domains (government, industry, academia) as a framework for best practices.

3. Create and execute programs and services to help people enter into, progress, and network within the contract management profession. The desired outcome is for the contract management profession to be recognized as a fulfilling career field in which education, professional development and advancement opportunities exist for long-term practitioners as well as recent entrants into the profession. 

4. Enhance and develop program delivery techniques to improve value for existing and potential members. The desired outcome for this objective is that NCMA will have multiple program and service delivery methods to maximize member value and engagement opportunities. These delivery methods will include using new technology and communication including social media.

5. Strengthen the value of NCMA certifications in the contract management workforce and with employers. The desired outcome for this objective is to foster employer support for certifications, so they become employer standards, and increase the number of contract management professionals with certifications. 

6. Effectively demonstrate the value of membership in NCMA to the employees engaged in the contract management professions, as well as their current and/or future employers. The desired outcomes for this objective are engaged, motivated, and active membership to advance the profession as well as employer support of NCMA involvement as a means to add value to their employees. 

7. Strengthen the NCMA chapter network through mentorship, collaboration, and innovation. The desired outcome for this objective is to ensure viable, responsive, and relevant local chapters to meet the professional development needs of a geographically dispersed membership. 

8. Broaden the contract management career definition beyond core of procurement and contracting to reflect the spectrum of the entire acquisition life-cycle (leadership, project management, contract administration, acquisition planning, and supply chain). The desired outcome is that NCMA will have programs and services that are complimentary to and strengthen the capabilities of the contract management professional across the continuum at the federal, state, and local levels.                                                                                                                                                                                           
9. Create educational programs that begin with engaging potential candidates at the universities and then progresses through entry-level, mid-career, refresher, and professional broadening learning. The desired outcome is education programs that will speed and polish professional development.