Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs
rsenn

Teaming Agreements and Workshare

Recommended Posts

My BD guys tend to bring me teaming agreements where we'd be a sub to a prospective prime contractor.

The TA's usually indicate that we would get to help the prospective prime win, and bear the proposal costs and related costs of doing so, but that we are not guaranteed anything, even if they do win.  Sometimes there is a vague intent or aspiration mentioned, something like we'll intend to split the work 60/40, but it's too ill defined to be enforceable.

To me, this is a problem, but my BD guys think it is just fine.   Why do they resist negotiating something more defined and enforceable?  What will it take to change their behavior?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rsenn said:

Why do they resist negotiating something more defined and enforceable?

You should know your people better than anyone here on the WIFCON forums. No one here can accurately answer that question for you (unless your BD people happen to be posters on this forum).

1 hour ago, rsenn said:

What will it take to change their behavior?

Leadership, education, feedback, incentives, accountability, etc.  These answers and any others you may receive here are just going to be generic hypotheses out of a leadership/management playbook.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, rsenn said:

Why do they resist negotiating something more defined and enforceable? 

 

Because you continue working with them on their terms.

 

12 hours ago, rsenn said:

What will it take to change their behavior?

 

Your willingness to walk away if they don’t.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@rsenn

Sounds like your team would benefit from some standard work, expectation management, and adequate controls. I've been on industry teams that use boilerplate agreements and limit changes, without higher-level approvals, to key areas. It may be inefficient, but it works to a degree, esp. when combined with the fundamentals Matthew mentioned.

*How do you know the BD folks resist negotiating? Have you witnessed their efforts or are they being judged by their results?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, rsenn said:

My BD guys tend to bring me teaming agreements where we'd be a sub to a prospective prime contractor.

The TA's usually indicate that we would get to help the prospective prime win, and bear the proposal costs and related costs of doing so, but that we are not guaranteed anything, even if they do win.  Sometimes there is a vague intent or aspiration mentioned, something like we'll intend to split the work 60/40, but it's too ill defined to be enforceable.

To me, this is a problem, but my BD guys think it is just fine.   Why do they resist negotiating something more defined and enforceable?  What will it take to change their behavior?

1. What does history tell you? When the prime wins, do you get the promised work, or not?

2. Sounds like your company is in a weak competitive position. If the primes needed you, you'd get a better deal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

rsenn, I don't know how astute your BD guys are concerning the cost principles, but one thing to keep in mind is the IRAD/BP cost principle.  bid and proposal costs required by a contract are not generally allowable costs under that cost principle.  If the teaming agreement is written with greater specificity, it may be considered a contract so that your BP costs are not allowable.  TRW found this out the hard way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speak to your CEO about dollars and risk. Speak to your legal team about enforceable teaming agreements, relevant to your state's law (VA, FL, NY). It's likely that you will not persuade a BD person, who is just responding to incentives.

17 hours ago, rsenn said:

Why do they resist negotiating something more defined and enforceable?

Incentives. Probably because they receive benefits for winning work but the costs of poor ventures are born by others in the company. Why should they care about your problems? If the company fails, a good BD person will fly away to a different company, so don't bother with that explanation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, jwomack said:

 

Because you continue working with them on their terms.

Your willingness to walk away if they don’t.

Alas, you are correct.  I tried walking away (not signing).  The BD guys ganged up on me.  They took their case to the CEO (their direct boss), who then told me to give them whatever they want.  (That sounds like dangerous instructions.)

 

1. What does history tell you? When the prime wins, do you get the promised work, or not?

2. Sounds like your company is in a weak competitive position. If the primes needed you, you'd get a better deal.

  • 1.  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  Too often, no.
  • 2.  Often times yes (we are small), although I suspect that sometimes we could get a better deal if the BD guys would push back (negotiate) and not accept anything thrown their way.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some things from my prime subcontract management view. Don't see how the work can be definitively split because work statements sometimes change before award and even if it didn't change, there is no time before award for the prime and sub to agree on the cost and scope. Would you or your company be willing to guarantee it will sign the prime's subcontract as offered without negotiation? Also, customers sometimes comment about the  team membership which results in other work splits than originally envisioned and selection of other team members. You should expect a sentence in the teaming agreement that contemplates good faith negotiation of a subcontract for appropriate work scope.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/31/2019 at 11:50 AM, PepeTheFrog said:

Incentives. Probably because they receive benefits for winning work but the costs of poor ventures are born by others in the company. Why should they care about your problems? If the company fails, a good BD person will fly away to a different company, so don't bother with that explanation. 

It's not a problem that I face because I'm not in the position to be hiring BD guys, but why would I want to hire one from a failing company?  That the company is faiing suggests the BD guys aren't bringing in enough business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 2/1/2019 at 4:13 PM, rsenn said:

I'm not in the position to be hiring BD guys, but why would I want to hire one from a failing company?  That the company is faiing suggests the BD guys aren't bringing in enough business.

The idea is that the success of the BD guy is not necessarily tied to the success of the company. They are related, but if the incentives are wrong, the BD guy can have "success" and commissions while the company fails. It happens. The BD guy might bring in the wrong type of work (high risk, low profit, cuts off other pipelines due to conflicts). The larger point is that it's important to create incentives and limitations for the BD guys (or sales or marketing). 

 

The issue you brought up seems to be such a case-- where the BD guys need different limitations or incentives, and might cause the company harm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×