I am launching a contest. I will give a copy of The Government Contracts Reference Book, 4th ed., by Nash, O’Brien-DeBakey, and Schooner, published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business and The George Washington University Law School, to the Wifcon member who writes the best set of definitions of the 20 terms (words and phrases) listed below. The Reference Book retails for $80.
The following words and phrases are commonly used by contracting practitioners and frequently used in regulations, guidebooks, handbooks, and contracts. A parenthetical entry beside the word or phrase gives usage context.
1. audit (as in proposal audit)
2. competition (as in competition improves quality and reduces prices)
3. complex (as in she’s working on a large, complex acquisition)
4. condition (as in terms and conditions)
5. contract term (as in they won’t accept that contract term)
6. cost (as in cost estimate)
7. dispute (as in a dispute must be handled under FAR 33.2)
8. equitable adjustment (as in they want an equitable adjustment)
9. evaluation factor (as in source selection evaluation factor)
10. fairly (as in COs must treat contractors fairly)
11. incentive (as in contractual incentive)
12. need (as in an acquisition should fulfill the Government’s needs)
13. profit (as in we offered them a fair profit)
14. purchase request package (as in the purchase request package was inadequate)
15. rating (as in evaluators will assign a proposal rating)
16. relative importance (as in evaluation factor relative importance)
17. requirement (as in the program office specified its requirements)
18. risk (as in contract performance risk)
19. tradeoff (as in source selection tradeoff analysis)
20. uncertainty (as in uncertainty about performance outcomes)
None of those words and phrases is defined in FAR.
I will not accept dictionary or otherwise published definitions. The definitions must explain in your own words what you mean when you use those terms.
The qualities I am looking for in the definitions are:
Write enough to be clear, but don’t write dissertations. Write something that would make clear to a non-contracting person what you, as a contracting practitioner, mean when you use the selected words and phrases. Don’t substitute one vague word or phrase for another. Don’t define by giving examples. State attributes common to all instances of use.
For some background about definitions go to:
Here are my rules for the contest:
1. Participation is open to all Wifcon members.
2. You must define all 20 of the listed words and phrases.
3. You must post your definitions here, as a comment on this blog entry, for all to see. Do not submit your comments directly to me via email.
4. The deadline for submission is June 18 at midnight. The date and time of your submission are the date and time on the posted comment. Minor post-deadline edits are permitted, but not wholesale rewrites. I'll be the sole judge of whether a post-deadline edit is actually a rewrite.
5. Begin each definition as follows: [Word or phrase] means…
6. Each definition must be in your own words. You may collaborate with others in your office, but you cannot quote or reword a definition found in a published source, including government publications and board, court or GAO decisions. I’ll use the internet to check for quotes and close paraphrases.
7. In evaluating the submissions I will seek input from Don Mansfield and Emptor Cautus, two other Wifcon bloggers. However, I reserve the right to pick the winner based on my own opinion and to pick no winner if I think that none of the submissions is good enough.
8. By participating you agree that participation gives you no legal right to anything.
What would you say if someone were to ask you what you mean when you use any of those words or phrases? Could you answer immediately, or would you have to think about it for a while and maybe do some research?
Take a shot. What have you got to lose? It might be worth the effort just to develop your own thinking. Most of you post anonymously, so don't worry. Have fun with it and maybe you'll win an expensive book.