Using the Best Value Approach (BVA) Without Company Approval

Using the Best Value Approach (BVA) Without Company Approval

BVA is Not a Process, It’s a Philosophy

Over the last 20 years, our group has given hundreds of presentations on the Best Value Approach . One comment we often get from professionals is: This process could save my organization lots of money, but I don’t have approval to run it.” Dr. Dean Kashiwagi, usually responds by asking them a question: Do you need approval to use logic?”

Dr. Dean always explains that BVA is not a traditional technical process. Most technical processes are not simple and transparent. They usually require lots of training and experience to run correctly. They require legal clauses and detailed instructions. This causes the technical processes to be questioned, stakeholders to raise concerns, and increases the risk of the organization, thus requiring approvals to be required.

The BVA is the opposite. It is simple. It uses common sense. The ideas are easy. The process does not require legal clauses. Many of the steps are already included in most procurement and delivery processes. And the things that are not included don’t have to be written down—they are expected to happen. For example, if you are hired for a full-time position in a company, your contract does not have to identify that every day you will need time to eat lunch and go to the bathroom. It is expected. It is common sense that if you work all day you will need to eat sometime, and you will need to go to the bathroom. Now there are some companies that are more bureaucratic and they might try to set restrictions around these activities, identifying how much time they should take, and when they are allowed, but most companies are lenient about this.

Although the BVA has a set process to it, in reality, the crux of the BVA system is not the process, it is the underlying theory behind it. What is the underlying theory?

The Mind of an Expert

Most procurement and management processes are designed based on the assumption that we lack critical information. In other words, the process is designed from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know what to do, but is trying to figure it out. The BVA process is different; it is designed the opposite way—it assumes that we have all the information. The process imitates how someone would act if they had all information or if they were truly an expert.

Every step of the process is based on simple logic. Thus, the theory underlying BVA is well-researched and takes more time to understand, but amazingly, using the BVA process is simple and easy to implement. Using the BVA is like having an expert make all critical decisions. Most processes are the opposite. The theory behind them is not as developed and important, and their processes are much more complex, and difficult to understand and implement.

The BVA is not just a procurement, management, or project delivery model; it is the ultimate leadership model. The BVA has drastically different characteristics from other models:

1.     Utilize Expertise – Leaders do not like to manage, direct, and control people. They identify the best people, put them in the right position, and let them take accountability for their work.

2.     Minimize Communication – Leaders ensure things are simple and transparent. Thus, if someone has to talk too long to explain anything, the leader sees risk. They are always trying to minimize the passing of information, minimize meetings, and minimize talking. This is why the elevator speech and executive summary has become so important in business.

3.     Minimize Decision Making – Leaders know that if someone has to spend time thinking about the benefit of an endeavor, there is a risk that it will be successful. Thus, they do not want to make a decision. If it is not dominant that the direction or action will be of benefit, they will not do it.

4.     Pre-Planning – Leaders always have a plan. They know exactly what will be done before it happens. They never go into a project without knowing the end result ahead of time. Thus, when dealing with others – before they are willing to put effort into a project, they want to see a plan beforehand – they want to know the result before they spend money on something.

5.     Performance Measurement – A leader realizes that whatever they do anything, they must be able to show simply how good their performance is. Thus, they always measure the performance of what they do. They always know the important numbers to collect and show, so that others see their value.

These are just a few of the different characteristics of the BVA model. The theory underlying the BVA is called the Information Measurement Theory. To learn more about it and the mind of an expert, take a look at these resources. These characteristics aren’t technical steps, they are more of ways of doing things. Thus, the BVA can be an overlay on most other systems.    

BVA is an Overlay to Any System

The value of the BVA is that it can be used either on its own or in conjunction with almost any other project delivery approach or process. Since most of the BVA steps are not technical, but high-level, it usually fits right into other processes. Depending on how strict the current process is will determine how much of the BVA can be implemented in conjunction with it. If you are not familiar with the BVA and would like to know more about its process, sign up for more info or check out our YouTube Channel.

There are many ways to do this, but the following are some examples of how to implement parts of the BVA with other processes.

The following are ways that any procurement, project manager, or stakeholder of a client could immediately implement the BVA without any approval:

  1. Emphasize and increase the importance of non-technical performance metrics to select and identify project teams.
  2. Require a plan before the project/service begins.
  3. Before a contract is signed, ensure you know exactly how the project team will measure performance.
  4. Include BVA principles and logic in your education to the vendors.
  5. Do less by minimizing your decision making.
  6. Minimize how much you talk and how much information you relay.

All of the above do not require any major changes to documents or processes. Most can be done within the constraints of any other process being used. The BVA is more of a set of principles that a person strives to adhere to with whatever process they have. The actual BVA process makes it easier to adhere to the principles, but the principles can always be followed to some degree.

Why Wouldn’t You Use It?

BVA helps organizations decrease their cost by more than 30% and greatly increase the quality and performance of their services. With such proven performance, why wouldn’t you implement a process that is logical and minimizes your effort and risk?

If you are interested in decreasing cost and improving performance but are still having issues figuring out how to implement the BVA, try to take one of the principles in the previous section and apply it to your projects and services. Document it and identify the impact. If you have any questions, please send your documentation to to get feedback and advice.