Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

All,

I've been in this profession for over a decade and it seems like I keep running into the same issue - how do I explain (in an executive summary/"Contracting for Dummies" format) to senior management the difference between program/project managers and seasoned contracts managers from a "best practices" perspective.  The frequent misconception seems to be that PMs are the true gatekeepers to a contract's success; I think companies leave so many valuable resources on the table in this regard.

Another item I struggle with: management never seems to understand that establishing a solid relationship/lines of communication between a seasoned contracts manager and the contracting officer is as equally worth its "weight in gold"  to optimal contract success as it is between a PM and the COR.

These issues are once again coming to a head.  I'm out of ideas and about to pull my hair out (as if FY 19 closeout wasn't enough to deal with)!

Thanks!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A slightly different perspective.  In my experience, good P/PMs are the key to a contract’s success.  In the absence of good P/PMs, the CO is the key.  There aren’t many good P/PMs.

Good = knowing how to define the government’s need.  And knowing how to select, interact with, and manage the contractors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @jwomack for your perspective - all are welcome and appreciated!

On the Industry side, there are many overlaps between the PM and CM functions that seem to confuse management; one example is managing subcontractors on construction contracts.  If you aren't managing the sub's compliance with critical items such as the Davis Bacon Act , it can have as much of a significant impact on the success of a contract as not managing the services they are providing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my perspective, a good PM is an expert at managing all of the people involved and keeping a project on target.  A good CM is an expert at managing compliance the terms and conditions of the contract and with analyzing and negotiating cost factors that affect the bottom line. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, ShaunaMSACM said:

The difference between program/project managers and seasoned contracts managers from a "best practices" perspective. 

a solid relationship/lines of communication between a seasoned contracts manager and the contracting officer is as equally worth its "weight in gold"  to optimal contract success as it is between a PM and the COR.

 

  • PM - Jack of all trades.  CM - technical expert.

Example of Why Contracting Technical Expertise Matters:

The contract says work is performed on-site and it has been, but due to a long-planned facility repair the COR didn't know about, the building won't have enough space starting next month.  The COR is saying most of the team will have to work either at a contractor-facility, or a different GVT building 15 miles away.  What are your rights here?  The PM won't know, but a good CM will.

 

  • Contracting Officers have the power to make life miserable for the contractor, so know your CO and be on good terms with them.  That is, or should be, the job of the CM. 

Example of the difference:

CM: Why are my invoices being rejected? 

Friendly CO:  Let's find out why, and what to do about it. 

A not-friendly CO: Invoices are non-compliant with the Section G. Invoicing Instructions, and/or FAR Clause 52. 212-4.  Submit a trouble ticket to the Payment Office.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/30/2019 at 11:45 AM, ShaunaMSACM said:

The frequent misconception seems to be that PMs are the true gatekeepers to a contract's success; I think companies leave so many valuable resources on the table in this regard.

Another item I struggle with: management never seems to understand that establishing a solid relationship/lines of communication between a seasoned contracts manager and the contracting officer is as equally worth its "weight in gold"  to optimal contract success as it is between a PM and the COR.

 

Shauna, it almost sounds like you are frustrated in career potentials. I sympathize with that if you are. Been there myself. In my industry experience, the management structure of your company at its highest level has already decided the value judgement you are focusing on. If for example,  there is no contracts function executive (and by that I mean only contracts, not a mixed functional executive like contracts and logistics VP) reporting directly to the president, and there is one for program management, that should tell you something. What it tells me is that a contracts career would probably have less visibility and promotional opportunities than those functions that have such a functional executive reporting to the president. I don't understand why someone would ask you to brief management on something that may have already been decided by its management structure, if that is the case.

Edited by Neil Roberts
sp and edit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all - this has been extremely valuable! 

I have been so frustrated by this topic - it really does me a lot of good to hear other perspectives. 

Thanks again,

Shauna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...