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Checklist for Managers of Federal Contracts

Based on a checklist used by Kendrick & Company

  • Read your contract. Read it again.
  • Know whether your contract is cost-plus, time & materials, fixed-price, cost plus incentive fee, etc.
  • Work cannot deviate from the contract without the written concurrence of the government contracting officer and the COMPANY chief executive officer. The government technical officer has no authority to change a contract.
  • Establish a month-by-month project operating budget which is tied to deliverables and the work schedule. As project manager, you control the budget: through your staff assignments, consulting assignments/agreements, travel plans, publications or materials expenses, and purchase requests. No one should charge time or other costs to your contract unless you have approved the expense.
  • You are responsible for initialing your approval on all time sheets and consultant/subcontractor invoices with charges to your project. Employee time sheets must be maintained daily.
  • There must be written agreements for consultants and subcontractors. These must define the scope of work or tasks, how payment will be made, how much will be paid, and delivery schedules. We like closed-end agreements with a termination date and a maximum dollar ceiling, so that our maximum liability is defined. All consulting and subcontracting agreements must be approved and signed by the COMPANY Chief Executive Officer.
  • Work must be finished by the completion date of the contract. Costs incurred before or after the period of performance may be unallowable.
  • The schedules of deliverables and delivery dates are very important. Do not deviate without prior authorization.
  • Check for reporting requirements. You may owe monthly progress reports -- and other materials.
  • Check where to send your deliverables. One or more copies of deliverables and progress reports may need to go directly to the contracting officer.
  • The Company requires that major reports and documents be copy edited for clarity, style, spelling, and grammar prior to delivery to a customer. Major deliverables should be attractive and well packaged to reflect our pride and confidence in the work.
  • Check the contract for clauses about consultants and/or subcontracting. Many contracts prohibit both without the prior written consent of the government contracting officer.
  • Check the contract for clauses about key personnel. Some contracts prohibit the replacement of key persons to project work without prior authorization of the contracting office.
  • Many contracts prohibit overtime or compensatory time without the prior written authorization of the contracting office.
  • Some contracts have security restrictions. To illustrate, no one may work on-site at NAVAIR 000 without a SECRET clearance. Even certain civilian contracts contain confidential business information or data subject to the Privacy Act.
  • Some contracts have special billing instructions.
  • Be sure to review each monthly voucher (invoice). Be prepared to explain it to your government project officer. Check for errors (before Accounting sends it to the government); there may be logical errors that only the project manager can detect.
  • You are responsible for gaining the government project officer's approval and sign-off on the monthly voucher. Please make certain that this happens within several days.
  • Monitor options to renew or extend the contract. Make certain the government exercises these whenever possible.
  • If you have questions or anticipate problems, speak up. We want you to be successful.
  • You are responsible for marketing the Company for future contracts to your customer and other Agency representatives. We expect follow-on business or opportunities for expanding the level of effort. Your job is not complete until you have grown the revenues and future work.
  • The project manager has overall responsibility for providing leadership for the project team: explaining objectives, work requirements, customer expectations, schedules, and budget constraints to the project team.
  • The project manager is responsible for representing the Company to subordinate personnel, articulating company policy and procedures, encouraging two-way communications between subordinates and Company management, and promoting positive morale.
  • The project manager is responsible for career growth of subordinates through on-the-job learning, cross-training, gradual introduction of new tasks, and/or access to suitable reference materials.
  • The project manager is responsible for furthering the Company's vigorous EEO and affirmative action goals.
  • The project manager is responsible for the quality, accuracy, and technical competence of the work performed.


Copyright 1996 by Jim Kendrick, Silver Spring, MD