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.
- YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PRODUCING REVENUES, PROFITS, AND AVOIDING A COST
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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