Contract Management: Shorts or Briefs?
They say that management is mostly about communications.
This is particularly true in Contracts Management, where an organization lives and dies by the requirements and rewards of each individual contract. Now I make sure everybody in the organization has access to the specifics for each project by sending out a short project brief.
The other day I got an email from Security asking for a list of the contracting officers for each of 12 contracts. I did not have to go through 12 different contract files and look up the CO information, since I had already prepared the brief for each contract. So I attached 12 briefs to my response and emailed them back to the security person. Since he doubles as the HR person he will find a lot of useful information in the set of briefs.
My briefs are short – only a couple of pages, and I attach the Statement of Work (or equivalent) to each one. Every contract action kicks off a new edition of that contract’s brief, and the edition numbers should parallel the contract’s mod numbers. Mod 00 is the original award, so the brief for the award has 00 as a suffix.
Important information to put into your briefs:
- Contract number and mod number, and date of the action
- Internal number (this is usually the number you use in the accounting system)
- Project title and short description
- Who are the POCs and what are their phone numbers, emails, and snail mail addresses? Include the customer’s contracting people (CO and specialist), technical person, and program manager if different. Also include your own technical and project management people
- List the line items, quantities, delivery dates, and prices. Don’t forget contract type
- How much is each line item worth, and how much funding is obligated?
- What is the period of performance? Options?
- What are the labor categories, rates, hours, and who is working in each category? Do the rates change on a specific date?
- How and when are the invoices to be submitted, and who are they sent to?
- Is the work classified? Has the customer included a DD254 about the security?
- What else do people need to know about this contract? Who is a key person, what are the locations of performance? What are the travel restrictions? Who are the subcontractors? What are the project or WBS numbers for accounting and who controls them?
- Finally, I put a recap at the end listing the mods with dates and what they were for
I send my briefs to my company’s management, the program and project managers, the accounting and contracts people, purchasing, and security.
You can also turn your briefs around and use them to summarize significant subcontracts, as above.