Chapter 7: Special Topics
This section focuses on the engineering activities pertinent to awarding a contract, managing contract performance, and completing a contract. However, interfaces to the procurement process will be covered, since the engineering technical team plays a key role in development and evaluation of contract documentation.The project manager, assisted by the assigned procurement and legal offices, first develops a project acquisition strategy or verifies the one provided. In some cases, it may be appropriate to probe outside sources in order to gather sufficient information to formulate an acquisition strategy.
Contract activities are part of the broader acquisition life cycle, which comprises the phases solicitation, source selection, contract monitoring, and acceptance. It is the responsibility of the contract specialist, with input from the technical team, to ensure that the appropriate clauses are included in the solicitation. Effective surveillance of a contractor begins with the development of the SOW [Statement of Work]. If you neglect to require something in the SOW, it can be costly to add it later.
The following are important to consider when evaluating proposals:
* Give adequate weight to evaluating the capability of disciplines that could cause mission failure (e.g., hardware, software, thermal, optics, electrical, mechanical).
* Conduct a preaward site visit of production/test facilities that are critical to mission success.
* Distinguish between “pretenders” (good proposal writers) and “contenders” (good performing organizations). Pay special attention to how process descriptions match relevant experience and past performance.
* Assess the contractor’s SEMP and other items submitted with the proposal based on evaluation criteria that include quality characteristics (e.g., complete, unambiguous, consistent, verifiable, and traceable).
Work products and deliverables share common attributes that can be used to assess quality. Additionally, relationships among work products and deliverables can be used to assess quality. Some key attributes that help determine quality of work products are listed below:
Satisfies content and format requirements, Understandable, Complete, Consistent (internally and externally) including terminology (an item is called the same thing throughout the documents, and Traceable.
The technical team also participates in milestone reviews to finalize acceptance of deliverables. At the end of the contract, the technical
team ensures that each technical deliverable is received and that its respective acceptance criteria are satisfied.
Acceptance criteria include:
* Product verification and validation completed successfully. The technical team performs or oversees verification and validation of products, integration of products into systems, and system verification and validation.
* Technical data package is current (as-built) and complete.
Concurrent Engineering (CE) and integrated design is a systematic approach to integrated product development that emphasizes response to stakeholder expectations and embodies team values of cooperation, trust, and sharing. The objective of CE is to reduce the product development cycle time through a better integration of activities and processes. Parallelism is the prime concept in reducing design lead time and concurrent engineering becomes the central focus. Large intervals of parallel work on different parts of the design are synchronized by comparatively brief exchanges between teams to produce consensus and decisions. CE has become a widely accepted concept and is regarded as an excellent alternative approach to a sequential engineering process. The CACE approach provides an infrastructure for brainstorming and bouncing ideas between the engineers and stakeholder team representatives, which routinely results in a high-quality product that directly maps to the customer needs. The collaboration design paradigm is so successful because it enables a radical reduction in decision latency. In a non-CACE environment, questions, issues, or problems may take several days to resolve
The discipline of Human Factors (HF) is devoted to the study, analysis, design, and evaluation of human-system interfaces and human organizations, with an emphasis on human capabilities and limitations as they impact system operation. HF engineering issues relate to all aspects of the system life, including design, build, test, operate, and maintain, across the spectrum of operating conditions (nominal, contingency, and emergency).