Project management as Head Project Manager

Among the professionals working in the public procurement field, a particular role is covered by project management for the Head Project Manager (RUP – Responsabile Unico del Procedimento, in Italian).

But what is it all about? What are the specific tasks of this position? Let’s discuss it in this article.

Who is the Head Project Manager?

The Head Project Manager is the professional who, according to cf. Art. 31, co. 3, Legislative Decree 50/2016, is responsible for performing all tasks concerning the planning, design, assignment, and execution of contracts not assigned to other bodies or individuals.

Over the years, the legislation has conferred increasingly clear and defined tasks and responsibilities to this role:

  • The European Commission directive (EU 24/2014) on public procurement recommends the presence of a project manager;
  • In Italy, the new Public Procurement Code (Legislative Decree, No. 50 of 18/4/2016) has been published;
  • Also, in 2015, ANAC – the Autorità Nazionale Anticorruzione (National Authority for Anti-Corruption) – published the first document with guidelines regarding the role of the HPD;
  • In 2017, a new version of the Procurement Code was published;
  • Also, in 2017, ANAC issued an updated version of the Guidelines.

From this moment, the HPD becomes equivalent to a project manager in the public procurement sector.

This professional figure is extremely important for public administration operations, as it improves the management of public contracts and significant works.

Public procurement is a hot subject, where discussions and debates often arise about major works that, although considered necessary, are dropped.

All of this is due to incorrect evaluation of time and cost estimates.

This is why the Head Project Manager becomes essential to coordinate and verify successful work.

How is the Head Project Manager chosen?

Any contract confirmation is accompanied by the appointment of an HPD through a formal act of the manager.

The HPD is elected from among employees who hold a managerial position or from employees with the professional skills relevant to the assignment.

The ANAC guidelines outline different levels of the HPD and mention all the requirements, including training, qualifications, and professional experience, for each of them.

Should no person in the workforce meets these requirements, the HPD, which, as mentioned, is a mandatory figure, will be sought and selected in external individuals.

The appointment of HPD is mandatory and cannot be declined.

Head Project Manager’s duties

As previously mentioned, the Head Project Manager is a project manager in public procurement and execution of major works.

Their primary duties and areas of expertise are listed in the Procurement Code.

These include different tasks, including:

  • Formulate proposals or provide information at the planning stage of public contracts;
  • Coordinate activities to evaluate technical and economic feasibility;
  • Verification results validation;
  • Selection of award procedure, award criteria, type of contract;
  • Supervision of the fair conduct of the selection;
  • Review of administrative documents submitted in the tender;
  • Review of anomalous bids;
  • Appointment of the tender committee and, if no conflict is present, participation as chairman in said tender committee;
  • Supervision of project implementation activities, including workplace safety, schedule compliance, cost, and quality.

pm for the head project manager

How to become an Head Project Manager

Thanks to specific knowledge, skill, and expertise requirements defined by the ANAC Guidelines, it is possible to ascertain what skills and knowledge Head Project Manager must possess.

In this respect, different training courses have appeared that help professionals specialize and fulfill the role of Head Project Manager.

These training courses share many similarities with those related to project management, which is not surprising given that the figure of the HPD is that of a project manager with expertise in public procurement.

Project management provides the fundamental knowledge to manage and supervise projects.

Courses, more specifically, focus on jurisprudence, technological insights, management techniques and the analysis of real industry cases.

The training courses to become an Head Project Manager comply with Standard UNI 11648:2016 (Requirements for the Knowledge, Skills and Expertise of the Project Manager).

The teaching method is often a mix of one-on-one lectures, group or individual laboratory sessions, and the analysis of case studies and real-world examples.

On a final note, the Head Project Manager must be specifically trained and have a proven track record in activities similar to the procurement nature.

Besides being appealing because of the field’s uniqueness, this role can also be particularly interesting from an economic point of view.

The actual earnings depend on the type of contract, but the amount of money allocated to the HPD is not to be underestimated.

That of the Head Project Manager is a special and unique project management role that combines the skills of a traditional project coordinator with the great responsibility of managing large works.

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