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Accession Number ADA564466
Title Tale of Two Contracts: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times.
Publication Date Aug 2011
Media Count 5p
Personal Author D. Ward
Abstract When I wrote 'My Big Slow Fail' (Jan-Feb 2011), I figured I was just telling a story, and not a particularly significant one at that. I thought people might get a chuckle out of the challenges and frustrations involved with awarding a contract. I hoped maybe we'd all learn a little something. I never expected this comedy of errors to trigger an avalanche of e-mails from readers around the world. The thing I didn't mention previously and which may augment our analysis of the first story is this: I was actually managing two contracts at the time. While no two contracts are identical, the two I managed were remarkably alike. Both were with the same type of contractor, both were supported by contracting professionals from the same organization (external to mine), both were active in the same timeframe, and both had the same program manager -- me. But unlike the infamous contract in my previous article (Contract A), the other contract (Contract B), had no significant delays, zero contracting-related problems, and zero rework. What could possibly account for the divergent outcomes. Well, for all the similarities between A and B, there were two major differences. First, Contract B had no personnel turnover. The contract specialist I worked with on day 1 (let's call him Chip) was still there when I left that job almost 2 years later. Compare that to the downright comical level of personnel turnover on Contract A. I think this fact alone accounts for much of the difference in outcome. The second difference was that, early on, Chip and I sat down and wrote out a detailed process flow, documenting all the steps of all the activities we would undertake for Contract B in the following year. We created a stack of templates (work statements, cost estimates, performance plans, etc.) and agreed on both the content and the format. Overall, the indicators point to the idea that a stable workforce combined with a well-defined process sets a foundation for efficient operations.
Keywords Contract administration
Department of defense
Lessons learned
Military procurement
Personnel retention
Personnel turnover
Project failure
Project management
Project success

Source Agency Non Paid ADAS
NTIS Subject Category 74E - Logistics, Military Facilities, & Supplies
70B - Management Practice
70D - Personnel Management, Labor Relations & Manpower Studies
Corporate Author Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Science, Technology and Engineering) Washington, DC.
Document Type Journal article
Title Note Journal article.
NTIS Issue Number 1303
Contract Number N/A

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