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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Your Entry Points Into Small Business Federal Government Contracting

Image:  Ocean5strategies.com

The Federal Government has a continuing need for products and services of every type to support ongoing operations and continued progress in the technical and IT fields.

Small business has lower overhead and G and A rates. The smaller enterprise has an opportunity to perform vital functions at lower cost burdens than the larger corporations.

This article will discuss product and service venues you may wish to consider and how to conduct market research to assess your potential entry point into small business federal government contracting.  

POINTS OF ENTRY

The best place to start in determining a government contracting entrance point is with successful commercial performance of services or product development. Very few, if any, commercial firms make the transition without that bridge.

From maintaining buildings to keeping the lights on, from grounds maintenance to flight maintenance, look for niches that can be pursued based on successful past performance, transitioning via industry teaming via subcontracts, partner roles with larger companies or in small business set aside orders for minor items and simpler services provided directly to the government.

The service venue is the most common entry point and services are at times the vehicles to achieve product development tailored to agency needs. Please see the following synopsis of  concepts in this area and associated links for more details on each:

Multiple Front Marketing


The prudent small business will target agencies and teaming partners that best fit its products and services, positioning itself to acquire developing information on requirements and displaying capabilities by conveying early solutions to customer decision makers. This article will suggest techniques, approaches and tools to conduct a multi-front, targeted, requirements-driven, marketing campaign for small business federal government contracting.


Multiple-Front Marketing

Small Business Set aside Designations 


There are 7 major, small business set-aside designations in federal government contracting. Below is a listing of these designations, divided into two groups, Self-Certifying at the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and those where government certification is required.

Techniques for Product Development 

This article will suggest approaches in developing a product to the point where it can be marketed in the small business federal government contracting venue. Individuals usually succeed at such an endeavor by forming a company, separating it from their personal assets and then developing the company and its product(s); even if it is only a one-person operation at the start. 


Teaming

While developing a government marketing plan, teaming with other companies is a productive venue for the small business. This article will convey general guidance pertinent to teaming and explore the types of teaming used successfully by small business federal government contractors.


Synergism is paramount in teaming with any size company, whether in a lead or subcontracting role. There should be technical, management and market segment similarities between you and any company with whom you are considering teaming. Your prospective team member ideally will not be a direct competitor; rather a business in a related field with whom you share a mutual need for each other's contributions in pursuing large-scale projects.


SUMMARY:

Small business federal government contracting is not rocket science - to succeed you must take what you do well in the commercial market place or what your experience leads you to believe you can plan successfully as a commercial enterprise and then apply it in a slightly different manner from a business perspective to accommodate federal government contracting requirements. Very few companies enter federal government contracting without some commercial experience and success. Very few start-ups entertain contracting exclusively to the federal government without commercial work to sustain operations while the more lengthy government procurement process is being pursued.

Federal government contracting is controlled by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Bid and proposal types are driven by the nature of the supply or service being procured. No one reads the FAR cover to cover - It is a source book for when you need it. The FAR and associated regulations are taught in only a few colleges, such as the Defense Systems Acquisition University at Ft. Belvoir and the George Washington School of Government Contracting. Very few CPA's are familiar with the US Government FAR Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) and I am not aware of any questions regarding CAS on current CPA exams. In general one must grow to understand these requirements and that usually happens by doing business under them. 



A Framework For Small Government Service Contractor Business Systems

                                                                                    

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

INTRODUCTION 


Waiting for a contract award to achieve a government contracting business process is not advisable. A win may not happen at all without addressing the structure and process requirements in your proposal to convince the customer you understand his business environment.

If you are not prepared in advance and you are fortunate enough to win, then in a very short time frame you will have to evolve your business system to perform on your contract and submit a billing.

This article will discuss a framework for a small enterprise to develop a business system in service contracting, which is the most frequent venue utilized to enter the government market.

The above diagram depicts the major elements of a suggested integrated template.


If you are a small startup organization, your process and automation may be quite rudimentary and simple in addressing the above structure and functions. If your company is in a high growth mode with many transactions, projects and details your processes and computerization will be more complex.


The point to remember is the need to overlay the above on your existing company for the unique products and services you provide, and then address how to fit, supplement, or accommodate the necessary adjustments to support contracting to the government.


Please read the following articles on the highlighted topics for details that may assist in evolving your unique business processes to support government contracting:


Long Range Planning


Should You Consider Small Business Federal :Government Contracting?


Provisional Indirect Rates


Teaming in Government Contracting


Protecting Intellectual Property and Proprietary Data


Human Resource Planning


Generic Contingent Hire Agreement


Contracts and Pricing


Proposal Preparation


Pricing


Project Planning


Earned Value Management Systems


Contract Baseline Management


Cost Centers, General and Administrative , Operations, Job Cost Records


The "Past Performance" Challenge


Establishing FAR and CAS Compliant Small Business Systems


DCAA Audits and Small Business Job Cost Accounting Systems


Customer Relations


Customer Relations and Government Personnel Roles


What Small Business Should Know About the FEDBIZOPPS Web Site


Multiple Front Marketing In Small Business Federal Government Contracting


Small Business Set-Aside Designations


SUMMARY


You may wish to download the free book and related documents at the "Box Net" cube in the right margin of this site for further information and live examples.


Remember, small business federal government contracting is not rocket science - it is taking what you do well in the commercial environment and applying it in a slightly different manner from a business perspective to accommodate the way the federal government does business.







Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Know Your Options For Government Contracts Disputes and Appeals




REQUESTS FOR EQUITABLE ADJUSTMENT (REA)

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

CLAIMS

I.  INTRODUCTION

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contains provisions for contractors and the government to resolve contract disputes.  The disputes often arise due to events during performance, many times surfacing weaknesses in the original contract work definition, technical parameters, schedule factors or related terms and conditions that can lead to change implications effecting cost, schedule and delivery.

In short, when the understanding the parties thought they had at negotiation and execution of the contract is in dispute, there must be a resolution. 

These conditions open the baseline of the contract to further clarification and negotiation. The FAR recognizes that a fair and equitable process is necessary to settle disputes and re-establish a mutually agreeable contract baseline.

 II. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

Contract baseline management has been discussed previously in the following article:

Contract Baseline Management

The above article offers six (6) rules of thumb:

1. KNOW - The contract value and its ceiling amount
2. KNOW - The incurred cost to date and commitments
3. KNOW - The scope of work and whether or not your current efforts are supporting it or some other objectives
4. KNOW - The estimated cost at completion based on where you are at today
5. KNOW - Your customer and who among the customer population is prone to direct out of scope effort.
6. KNOW - WHEN TO SAY "NO" to "Scope Creep" and say it officially in writing to the contracting officer specified in your contract.

The remainder of this article will discuss the three most common processes that contract disputes undergo when the baseline is in dispute and selecting the best method considering the circumstances that exist on the contract. 


III. REQUESTS FOR EQUITABLE ADJUSTMENT (REA)

An REA is most often the first and the least formal step undertaken by a contractor when there has been a clear and recognizable departure from the contract baseline in terms of events that warrant cost, schedule, technical performance or terms and conditions parameter modification.  It does not start the formal claims process under FAR with associated interest implications.

Submitted in the form of a proposal for contract change, the REA cites the "Before and After" conditions of the contract baseline and the details regarding the delta.  Implicit in the submission are actual cost records, documents regarding government actions and guidance, an estimate of the new baseline impact in terms of cost, schedule or technical modifications to the agreement and a request for contract change. 

The government agency may approve or deny the proposal, further negotiate the details with the contractor and may or may not modify the contact.  The following article is an excellent guide to use and preparation of REA’s:


IV. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

ADR takes advance planning on the part of the government agency and the contractor.  Not every government contracting office chooses to place an ADR clause in contacts they execute.  Not every contractor is willing to accept one at contract award.

ADR is intended to be an alternative to the REA and formal claims process, whereby the government and the contractor agree in advance to place an ADR clause in the contract and subject any dispute that arises to the ADR process for resolution.  

Below is a quote from the FAR on the use of ADR:

33.214  Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
(a) The objective of using ADR procedures is to increase the opportunity for relatively inexpensive and expeditious resolution of issues in controversy. Essential elements of ADR include—
(1) Existence of an issue in controversy;
(2) A voluntary election by both parties to participate in the ADR process;
(3) An agreement on alternative procedures and terms to be used in lieu of formal litigation; and
(4) Participation in the process by officials of both parties who have the authority to resolve the issue in controversy.
(b) If the contracting officer rejects a contractor’s request for ADR proceedings, the contracting officer shall provide the contractor a written explanation citing one or more of the conditions or such other specific reasons that ADR procedures are inappropriate for the resolution of the dispute. In any case where a contractor rejects a request of an agency for ADR proceedings, the contractor shall inform the agency in writing of the contractor’s specific reasons for rejecting the request.
(c) ADR procedures may be used at any time that the contracting officer has authority to resolve the issue in controversy. If a claim has been submitted, ADR procedures may be applied to all or a portion of the claim. When ADR procedures are used subsequent to the issuance of a contracting officer’s final decision, their use does not alter any of the time limitations or procedural requirements for filing an appeal of the contracting officer’s final decision and does not constitute a reconsideration of the final decision.
(d) When appropriate, a neutral person may be used to facilitate resolution of the issue in controversy using the procedures chosen by the parties.
(e) The confidentiality of ADR proceedings shall be protected. 
(f)(1) A solicitation shall not require arbitration as a condition of award, unless arbitration is otherwise required by law. Contracting officers should have flexibility to select the appropriate ADR procedure to resolve the issues in controversy as they arise.
(2) An agreement to use arbitration shall be in writing and shall specify a maximum award that may be issued by the arbitrator, as well as any other conditions limiting the range of possible outcomes. 
(g) Binding arbitration, as an ADR procedure, may be agreed to only as specified in agency guidelines. Such guidelines shall provide advice on the appropriate use of binding arbitration and when an agency has authority to settle an issue in controversy through binding arbitration.”

V. CONTRACT CLAIMS

A formal contract claim is a significant step in the relationship with your customer.  It acknowledges that the REA and ADR (if applicable to the contract) processes have not been effective in resolving the dispute and refers the matter to a formal claim which has the potential for adjudication.  It also starts the interest clock in terms of government payment liability in the event the agency loses the claim during adjudication. 

Below are the major clauses regarding formal contact claims and the certifications by the contractor that apply.  They have significant legal implications.


VI. SUMMARY

When contract disputes or the potential for claims and appeals arise it is best to view each instance uniquely in deciding which of the three avenues discussed in this article may be appropriate. 

Contract disputes are serious matters. In the event the impact to the company from a risk perspective is substantial, it is best to involve a law firm that specializes in government contract claims for advice on how to proceed. 


Friday, May 17, 2024

The Changing Dynamics of Collaboration in Today's Small Business Contracting


Collaboration in government contracting is changing dramatically. 
The government is becoming more open in its dealings, driven by a dramatic need for commercial technology from the commercial sector, dire efficiency issues and the weight of a massive debt load. 

Budget and funding pressures, competition for scarce resources, efficiency and similar concerns are creating an environment where open, accessible communication and teaming at several levels can yield excellent returns for progressive small enterprises and their partners.

These advances are being enhanced by communication and processes made instant with technology, remarkably enabled for creativity and teamwork, as well as the lower operating costs of a small enterprise.  The new collaboration includes reaching out to clients, industry partners and suppliers. It also requires employee involvement at all levels in the dynamics of the collaborative process. 

Although sound, professional and business contracting techniques will always be necessary, together with prudent management and risk analysis, the collaborative dynamic is on the move. 

Now is the time to take the initiative in designing collaborative efforts with federal agencies, marketing solutions that maximize contractor and government resources and the best possible efficiencies in service solutions. Go in early, go in hard, go with a team concept and be open and objective with your primes, your suppliers and your customer. Engage your employees at all levels in the effort.
 
Many are planning strategically, are you?

Insights To Succeed In Small Business Government Service Contracting








 
 

 

 

Monday, May 13, 2024

What is a "Compliant" Federal Government Services Contract Small Business System?


It seems the single word, "Compliance" in small business federal government services contracting business systems implies many different things:

  • Small Businesses wish to know about compliance to assess the cost of doing business with the government, assure readiness and business system capability.
  •  Software Suppliers maintain they have compliant tools to achieve government contracting business management and wish to sell them.
  • The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) has the mission to insure compliance with Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) under the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
  • Defense Contract Management Agency Fact Finding Teams wish to observe small business systems to determine if an enterprise is capable of pricing, job cost accounting and billing consistency.
  • Prime Contractors wish to know if a subcontractor is compliant with FAR and CAS so related flow down clauses can be made part of contractual agreements.
The criteria for determining government contracting small business system "Compliance”, as discussed above, is met when:

1. The business system is unique to the company, and recognizes the way the firm is organized and the way it manufactures or delivers products, supplies or services. Each company does business in a slightly different way, performs services or delivers products with organizations that function in various manners and yet all ultimately meet Modified US Government Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) objectives by live data demonstrating consistency with regard to cost allocation to contract objectives in pricing, job cost accounting, billing and closeout.

2. The business system meets Modified Cost Accounting Standard (CAS) Coverage defined by the government is as follows:


Standard 9904.401, Consistency in Estimating, Accumulating, and Reporting Costs  Standard 401


Standard 9904.402, Consistency in Allocating Costs Incurred for the Same Purpose Standard 402

Standard 9904.405, Accounting for Unallowable Costs Standard 9904-405, Accounting for Unallowable Costs Standard 405     Unallowable Costs


Standard 9904.406, Cost Accounting Standard—Cost Accounting Period  Standard 406


Modified, rather, than full, CAS coverage may be applied to a covered contract of less than $50 million awarded to a business unit that received less than $50 million in net CAS-covered awards in the immediately preceding cost accounting period.
 

The following article contains practical business system guidance regarding building a Modified CAS Coverage Small Business System for federal government contracting:
Managing Risk In Business System Development

Read the above government requirements and business system development guidance, and then give your selected method of business management the Modified CAS litmus test. Make a judgment that is the best for your company and try it out on DCAA. If they have problems with the approach you can adjust it.

The bottom line objective is that you wish government approval going forward so that your rates are accepted in proposals, your audits have a satisfactory outcome and you get paid when you submit a billing. Without those critical success factors the business cannot operate.




Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Meeting The Small Business Federal Government Contracting "Past Performance" Challenge




As a small business begins the proposal submission process to federal government agencies or to prime contractors the past performance requirement is a major challenge. By definition a start-up company in government contracting has no direct government agency past performance projects to site in meeting the requirement in requests for proposals (RFP’s) for historical references to similar projects in terms of size, duration and complexity.

Past performance data must be specific to the enterprise bidding a contract. It cannot site historical references to performance of individuals now in the company when they were with other firms, achievements by predecessor companies or successful projects that the current company did not perform as its current entity. The purpose for this rigid perspective by the government is to avoid "Fronting" a new enterprise with misleading information to obtain a high past performance rating.

So how can a startup or a small business new to government contracting meet the past performance challenge?

The answer lies in historical projects that may be similar in the commercial arena and a high quality proposal that clearly demonstrates an understanding of the requirement at hand, a unique and cost effective project plan and high performing personnel and/or products tailored to the statement of work to offset an interim, light past performance record.


A past performance reference sheet usually accompanies an agency RFP. It normally requires the bidder to fill it out with references to historical projects the company has performed and the contact points for confirmation. The government may request these forms in advance of the main body of the proposal to allow enough time to send them to the references. The past performance form is sent by the government to the references and you never see the result. The input goes directly from your past performance references back to the government.


For details on past performance formats and records processes please see Your Past Performance Record 


Many small businesses work through prime contractors to "Grow" past performance history (subcontracts count). By teaming with a sizable firm a small entity can relate its participation to larger projects and ultimately graduate to a good library of references, carefully maintained and kept as a living, growing data base of good customer service records that can be sited again and again in proposals.

It is wise to keep customer perceptions of your professionalism and products or services alive by constant vigilance, visits, surveys and other feedback mechanisms so that you are not surprised at a proposal debriefing when you find that a client you thought rated you highly did not.


The major services maintain past performance records by contract that you can access. Inquire with them as to a membership at the appropriate web site and review them regularly. The GSA utilizes service companies to rate contractors. You can get your rating by inquiring with them, much like a credit rating, except pertinent to cost, schedule and technical performance. Monitor your D&B report. It is always out there for prime contractor and government assessment of your financial health, your vendor payment history, your organization profile and your rating.


The U.S. Federal Contractor Registration System for Award Management  has a narrative to profile your company. Check your registration and insure you have a current and complete description of your supplies and services available to all who use the Dynamic Search Mechanism Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS)


Insure your web site, your capability statement and your marketing plans are maintained current alive and dynamically reflective of your successes as you pursue new business and carefully develop your library of past performance records by project with accessible profiles to use in your government proposals.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Meeting Veteran & Employer Challenges During Transition from Military to Civilian Work




Expectations and Reality are Far Apart on Both Sides of the Employment Spectrum
By Ken Larson 

Aside from the legal and moral obligations to employ returning veterans, there is a third, vital challenge in the employment transition equation: understanding the vast difference between the military and civilian work environments.  The expectations of both parties must be carefully assessed and communicated with realistic processes for effective transition from military to civilian employment by the veteran.

Civilian Knowledge of the Military Environment Has Diminished

As a country, America has been at war nonstop since 911. As a public, it has not. A total of about 2.5 million Americans, roughly three-quarters of 1 percent, served in Iraq or Afghanistan at any point in the post-9/11 years, many of them more than once.

War was much closer to home when the draft existed and military participation ran higher during WW II and the Vietnam Conflict.

The Nature of Today's Wars and a Cynicism with Regard to Their Outcome Impacts the Veteran and the Civilian Outlook

Ultimately, the military’s discontent may stem from dissonance between the commitment to, and pride in, the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan and the knowledge that these sacrifices have not yielded the desired results.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan arguably have prompted a crisis of confidence within the military itself.

Despite a six-year, $287 million effort to make troops more optimistic and resilient, an Army survey found that 52 percent of soldiers scored badly on questions that measured optimism, while 48 percent reported having little satisfaction or commitment to their job.


Veterans bring these issues home and find a civilian employment environment that does not have a focus on combat life and death, but rather an emphasis on long term thinking, collaboration, viewing actions with respect to the impact on internal and external customers and politically correct human resource considerations.

The assumption on the part of the employer is that the strength and training of the individual coming out of the military environment permits a reasonable transition. It does not.

We Must Educate and Develop Programs to Bridge the Gap from Both Ends.

A transition partnership between the veteran and the company is necessary. Expectations must be adjusted to reflect the differences in both venues.

Military core values such as – oaths, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), a culture of direct command, and a narrow focus on the task at hand are no longer available when the veteran leaves the military. 

In the civilian environment political correctness, strategic group awareness, tact, organization factors, and a broad view of mission and achievement are required.

A veteran is therefore is not so much entitled to a job as he or she is entitled to be understood, and to be allowed to understand the civilian job environment, growing into it.

Professional Roles are Vital

There are two important types of professional roles to consider when hiring and managing military veterans in the business venue.

As a veteran who made the transition to civilian professional work and ultimately owned a small enterprise, and as a counselor who supports veterans in becoming business owners, my experience over several decades indicates military men and women do well in Role 1 below. They have the most challenges with Role 2.

Role 1 Technical - Scientific, engineering, logistics, electronics, design and similar skill sets where direct supervision, team building, corporate policy compliance and human resource planning and utilization are not major factors.

VS

Role 2- ManagementFunctional process capacities responsible for hiring, evaluation, supervision, compliance with civilian law and department activities involving group dynamics, customer relations and sensitive human factors.

Image: The Military Wallet









I came out of the military having had a leadership role in engineering, base development planning and combat support. I served in war zones in Southeast Asia and on highly classified missions. I was not a manager. I was a military leader in specialized skill sets under Role 1 above.

I knew how to direct people who followed orders without question because the Uniform Code of Military Justice to which we swore an oath said they must do so.

I felt uncomfortable in jobs involving Role 2 above because they were foreign to me. I later adjusted, learned the venue and became skilled as a manager in the corporate world. I preferred staff assignments, however for most of my career.

The corporate venue seemed enormously political and bureaucratic to a former war fighter like me. I was not that tactful. I cut to the chase often and did not always take everyone with me when I made a decision.

Once I grew into a Role 2 performer, I found in interviewing, hiring, evaluating and managing young veterans, even seasoned ones, who had retired and joined the civilian work force, that almost all were better suited for Role 1. It took years and effort on my part to fit them into Role 2 and some never made it.

Management Analysis  and Moving Forward

The principal reason for the logic conveyed above is that the military environment may seem to be structured in a way that fits Role 2, but the military does not turn out individuals who are suited in the knowledge and experience necessary in the civilian environment and they are not very good at it without extensive training and adaptation.

Enterprises have multiple-faceted challenges and they require multiple- faceted people. Even though individuals may hold a specific position job title, success in the civilian work force demands avenues where the human resource can contribute in multiple ways.

If a contributor has experience and training in several areas the business can utilize, that makes him or her a valuable resource and it is likely they will be professionally fulfilled and rewarded from doing so. Military personnel have specialty training and focus; few have a wide view of what is in front of them, particularly with respect to military vs. civilian professional settings.

It all comes down to the workers having an element of control in the future success for both themselves and the company and having the opportunity to realize their potential in that regard.

If the professional is in a narrow, technical discipline and his or her expectations are to have others support them in that role or if they are more comfortable in a "Stove-piped" professional setting and not attuned to group dynamics and the often politically correct nature of the civilian organization, they perhaps belong in technical roles and they do not belong in management roles at the onset of their employ.

Summary

In fairness to veterans and to our hopes for them in the future, we must understand these above distinctions, build on Role 1, understand the risk in Role 2 and assist wherever possible.Above all,  a respectful partnership and realistic expectations must evolve between the veteran and the company for success in transitioning  former military personnel into the civilian work force. This must be achieved through education, training, communication and assessment of both the veteran and the company personnel.

About the Author: 















Ken Larson is a 2 Tour US Army Vietnam Veteran, retired after 36 Years in the Defense Industrial Complex, having worked on 25 major weapons systems, many of which are in use today in the Middle East. He concluded his career with his own consulting firm. As a  MicroMentor Volunteer Counselor Ken receives many inquiries from small companies wishing to enter or enhance their position in federal government contracting. 



















Friday, May 3, 2024

Your Federal Government Contracting Past Performance Record





FAR 42.1501

“Relevant information for future source selection purposes, regarding a contractor’s actions under previously awarded contracts. It includes, for example, the contractor’s record of conforming to contract requirements and to standards of good workmanship; the contractor’s record of forecasting and controlling costs; the contractor’s adherence to contract schedules, including the administrative aspects of performance; the contractor’s history of reasonable and cooperative behavior and commitment to customer satisfaction; and generally, the contractor’s business-like concern for the interest of the customer.” 

As a small enterprise enters the government contracting venue, the phrase “Past Performance” almost immediately comes to the fore. When examining government Requests for Proposal (RFP’s) a section of the award criteria is almost always specified for past performance ratings on previous similar government work.

We have discussed meeting the initial past performance challenge for companies new to government contracting in the following discussion:

The Small Business Government Contracting Past Performance Challenge

The primary purpose of past performance evaluations is to ensure that accurate data on contractor performance is current and available for use in source selections. A past performance evaluation report provides a record of a contractor’s performance, both positive and negative, on a given contract during a specified period of time.
This article will focus on accessing your past performance record, and explain how the government rates a contractor’s past performance:

ACCESS

The following is an extract from the Contractor Past Performance Information Retrieval Web Site on obtaining information on your company information there:  Contractor Past Performance Assessment Reporting System

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE 




PAST PERFORMANCE REVIEW CONTENTS BY KEY ASSESSMENT ELEMENT

Below are the key assessment elements required for contractor reviews of major procurement sectors in federal government contracting. 

Assessment Elements for the Systems Sector

Technical (Quality of Product) —This element is comprised of an overall rating and six sub elements.

Activity critical to successfully complying with contract requirements must be assessed within one or more of these sub-elements. The overall rating at the element level is the Program Manager's integrated assessment as to what most accurately depicts the contractor's technical performance or progress toward meeting requirements. It is not a predetermined roll-up of the sub-element assessments.

Product Performance—Assess the achieved product performance relative to performance
parameters required by the contract.

Systems Engineering—Assess the contractor's effort to transform operational needs and
requirements into an integrated system design solution.

Software Engineering—Assess the contractor's success in meeting contract requirements for software development, modification, or maintenance. Results from Software Capability Evaluations (SCEs) (using the Software Engineering Institute {SEI's} Capability Maturity Model {CMM} as a means of measurement), Software Development Capability Evaluations (SDCEs), or similar software assessments may be used as a source of information to support this evaluation.

Logistic Support/Sustainment—Assess the success of the contractor's performance in accomplishing logistics planning.

Product Assurance—Assess how successfully the contractor meets program quality objectives (e.g., producibility, reliability, maintainability, inspectability, testability, system safety) and controls the overall manufacturing process.

Other Technical Performance—Assess all the other technical activity critical to successful contract performance. Identify any additional assessment aspects that are unique to the contract or that cannot be captured in another sub-element
.
SCHEDULE—Assess the timeliness of the contractor against the completion of the contract, task orders, milestones, delivery schedules, administrative requirements, etc.

COST CONTROL—(Not required for firm-fixed-price or firm-fixed-price with economic price adjustment contracts.) Assess the contractor's effectiveness in forecasting, managing, and controlling contract cost, including reporting and analyzing variances.

 Management—This element is comprised of an overall rating and three sub-elements. Activity critical to successfully executing the contract must be assessed within one or more of these sub-elements. This overall rating at the element level is the Program Manager's integrated assessment as to what most accurately depicts the contractor's performance in managing the contracted effort. It is not a predetermined roll-up of the sub-element assessments.

 Management Responsiveness—Assess the timeliness, completeness, and quality of problem identification, corrective action plans, proposal submittals (especially responses to change orders, engineering change proposals, or other undefinitized contract actions), the contractor's history of reasonable and cooperative behavior, effective business relations, and customer satisfaction.

Subcontract Management—Assess the contractor's success with timely award and management of subcontracts, including whether the contractor met or exceeded small business, small disadvantaged business, small business HUBZone, veteran-owned small business, service disabled veteran-owned small business, and women-owned small business participation and subcontracting goals.

Program Management and Other Management—Assess the extent to which the contractor discharges its responsibility for integration and coordination of all activity needed to execute the contract, identifies and applies resources required to meet schedule requirements, assigns responsibility for tasks/actions required by contract, and communicates appropriate information to affected program elements in a timely manner. Assess the contractor's risk management practices, especially the ability to identify risks and formulate and implement risk mitigation plans. If applicable, identify and assess any other areas that are unique to the contract or that cannot be captured elsewhere under the Management element.
Assessment Elements for the Services, Information Technology, and Operations Support Sectors

QUALITY OF PRODUCT OR SERVICE—Assess the contractor's conformance to contract requirements, specifications, quality of software product and development, and standards of good workmanship (e.g., commonly accepted technical, professional, environmental, or safety and health standards).

SCHEDULE—Assess the contractor’s timeliness against the completion of the contract, task orders, milestones, delivery schedules, and administrative requirements (e.g., efforts that contribute to or effect the schedule variance).

COST CONTROL—(Not required for firm-fixed-price or firm-fixed-price with economic price adjustment contracts.) Assess the contractor's effectiveness in forecasting, managing, and controlling contract cost, including reporting and analyzing variances.

 BUSINESS RELATIONS—Assess the integration and coordination of all activity needed to execute the contract, specifically the timeliness, completeness, and quality of problem identification, corrective action plans, proposal submittals, the contractor's history of reasonable and cooperative behavior, customer satisfaction, timely award and management of subcontracts, and whether the contractor met small business, small disadvantaged business, small business HUBZone, veteran-owned small business, service disabled veteran-owned small business, and women-owned small business participation and subcontracting goals.

MANAGEMENT OF KEY PERSONNEL (for Services and Information Technology business sectors only)—Assess the contractor's performance in selecting, retaining, supporting, and replacing—when necessary—key personnel.

SUMMARY

Regular review of your past performance information system data is vital to your future marketing efforts. Please feel free to download the Guide to the Past Performance Retrieval System in the second, vertical Box Net "References" cube in the left margin of this site.