You will learn how to make sure your project stays on track.
- Monitoring is performed throughout the entire project. You are mainly concerned with assessing progress and measuring how well you're executing against the project management plan. A good way to determine if your project is on track is to use key performance indicators, also known as KPIs. These are simple metrics that can answer questions, such as are we within scope? Are we on schedule? Are we under budget? How much more work is left? And, are we meeting quality metrics? Some examples include, earned value management calculations, percentage milestones completed, and re-work levels.
Managing projects is challenging enough, but government projects require an additional level of scrutiny. The reason being is, you are walking a tightrope between the specifications of your project management plan and the strict terms and conditions laid out in the contract. You have to adhere to both. For example, how would you handle a situation where a particular product or service that was agreed upon in the contract, and approved in the plan is no longer available? The more complex and longer the project, the greater the likelihood a situation, such as this, will occur.
This is why it's so important to put a change control system at place early in the project life cycle. A system such as this will have guidelines on how changes to your project plan, documents and deliverables are handled. This way, changes such as those mentioned earlier won't be made haphazardly with little regard to their impact on project constraints. What would you do if the agency's end user requested changes to the scope halfway through your project? This is quite realistic, and can actually happen at any time.
As part of the previously mention change control system, you should ask the agency to submit a change request form. You and your team can then review the change request and determine the appropriate next steps. Assuming the requested changes are within the existing project constraints, then you can implement them. However, if the changes are outside the existing constraints, you will need to get approval to modify the plan and possibly the contract.
Either way, it is imperative that you make sure your responses are timely. If there is any confusion on what's expected or agreed upon, you should work with the agency to clear it up as soon as possible. Under no circumstances should you stop completing deliverables unless the government issues a stop work order in writing. Depending on the size of the project you're managing, you may be under the watchful eye of the agency's compliance officer, sometimes referred to as an administrative contracting officer, also known as an ACO.
This person will typically monitor the project's performance, particularly as it relates to cost issues, financial reporting, and subcontracting plans. Just like you, the contracting officer has a job to do. The easier you make it on them to do their job, the easier it will be on you to do yours. Try to forge a cordial relationship with the officer. At a minimum, your goal is to prevent the relationship from becoming adversarial and jeopardizing your project.
The good thing is that the government wants you to succeed. If they didn't think you and your team could successfully deliver the results they are expecting they would not have awarded your company the project in the first place. As I stated earlier, you will be under an additional level of scrutiny, so pay attention to the details. In order to successfully deliver a government project, you have to fulfill both the project and contractual obligations.
As long as you keep this in mind, you should proceed confidently.
Learn the best practices and terminology for working with the government, including documentation such as subsidiary plans, RFPs, PWSs, and SOOs. Walk through the three phases of contract negotiation—pre-award, award, and post-award—and common challenges as well as solutions for bidding on government contracts and getting projects authorized.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Avoiding common pitfalls
- Reviewing the request for proposal (RFP)
- Identifying stakeholders
- Refining the deliverables
- Finalizing the contract
- Kicking off the project
- Managing the project
- Closing out the project