The Significant Milestone Memorandum
How does the COR help the CO track progress on the contract?
The COR should develop a memorandum to the CO outlining the significant milestones applicable to the contract requirements and the corresponding due dates for each milestone. This memorandum will be used by the COR to monitor progress in performance and will act as an early warning device if work progresses slowly or the contractor fails to perform as required by the contract. Important milestones that should be included in the memorandum are:
Reports or drafts due
Other similar events (e.g., completion of designated or periodic phases).
The COR should discuss these milestones with the CO to ensure mutual understanding, to acknowledge the limits of the COR's responsibilities, and
FIGURE 5-2. Sections of the UCF Relevant to the CQR
to ensure his or her familiarity with the technical and administrative aspects of the contract requirements. This communication process should be maintained throughout the contract performance period. The COR's filing responsibilities regarding these efforts will be discussed later in this chapter.
The Discussion Paper
How does the COR prepare a discussion paper?
The COR will need to develop a discussion paper for the CO's preliminary briefing. The three steps in developing this paper are:
1. Prioritizing all performance issues
CORs should focus on communication, teamwork, and proaction elements instrumental to the success of the project. All issues of concern should be addressed and prioritized based on potential risk to the contractor or the government. Although the COR is not required to use it, the Potential Risk Worksheet (see Figure 5-3) may help the COR assess various areas and degrees of potential risk.
FIGURE 5-3. Potential Risk Worksheet
The COR should consider the following elements of contract performance when identifying priorities:
Work requirements (description of the contract performance requirements)
Technical performance issues
Interpretation of specifications
Reports (e.g., progress reports, test reports, work completion reports)
Data requirements and manuals
Facility and equipment availability/adequacy
Technical direction limitations
Key personnel provisions
Overtime policy and approvals
Transportation and shipping.
Problems with any of these elements might affect the quality of the product provided or work performed, cause delays in contractor delivery, or increase the scope of work and the contract cost. All of these elements of contract performance should be reviewed and discussed at the orientation to ensure that the contractor has a complete understanding of the requirements.
The orientation must be an interactive process in which everyone involved in managing the contract has the opportunity to clarify any unclear issues. The clarification process, however, sometimes results in a need to change the requirements. If this occurs, both the contractor and the government are advised that a formal change must be processed using contract modification procedures.
2. Selecting the issues that pose the greatest risk to performance
Using the Potential Risk Worksheet, the COR should be able to determine those issues most detrimental to successful contract completion. The more "yes" answers on the worksheet, the greater the negative impact of an issue or issues upon contract performance. The COR should focus his or her attention on issues posing the greatest riskthose that impact cost, delivery/schedule, technical requirements, and resources.
3. Developing solutions or other recommendations
Identifying the issues that present the greatest risk to contract performance is only half the battle. The COR also needs to consider solutions to these potential problems. The COR should not attend the CO's preliminary briefing with only a list of problems; the COR may be the best person to develop solutions to these problems. At a minimum, the COR should address the following questions for each issue selected as posing a risk to performance:
What are the recommendations for resolving the issue?
What resources are needed to resolve the issue?
What will be the contractor's reaction to the issue?
Presenting a complete listing of significant issues and risks and solutions to possible problems to the CO results in a more productive preliminary briefing. It is critical that the contract administration team address these issues and resolutions before the team meets with the contractor. A unified government team is a major goal of postaward orientation. Waiting until the postaward orientation conference to raise these issues for the first time indicates that the government team is not united or fully apprised of the important issues.