Two Options – For our LinkedIn Connections

August 30, 2010 on 5:28 am | In CCS News | 2 Comments

There are two ideas that we are considering putting into development and marketing. We may  only be able to do one. We thought that we would post these two ideas and see what sort of response we get. That will help guide us in our development of some new classes.

 

We have developed so many classes over the years that there is always some root material already in our library and archive that we can use and adopt, so the actual development of any project, in terms of cost, is roughly equal to any other class we develop. The bigger issue is one of marketing. The goal is to develop a class that will provide some level of repeat presentation.

 

CONCEPT 1

There is a push from the government to limit the use of T&M contracts. While there are several arguments for doing so, the primary issue highlighted by GAO is that T&M estimates of “T” are generally not accurate. If the estimate is too low, then an insufficient level of overhead and G&A will be built into the hourly rate and the contractor will not recover sufficiently to make the project worthwhile. If the estimate is excessively low, then the contractor will over-recover to the government’s detriment.

 

As with many government initiatives, one bad example makes the entire genre bad. Those of us in the industry know that a T&M contract serves a very worthwhile purpose and its use should be maintained IN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES!

 

We propose a two day class that will cover the following syllabus:

I. Contract Types (not limited to the cost dimension)

II. The Mechanics and Proper use of a T&M Contract

III. How to convert a T&M to a more appropriate contract type

IV. What changes in administration of a contract when it is no longer T&M

 

The target market would be corporate and government clients and would cost approximately $5000 for up to 25 attendees if the class were held in the client facility.

 

CONCEPT 2

In 2007 we participated in the development of two, in a series of  ten, books published by Management Concepts which they called Federal ActionPacks. The two we wrote covered Government Contract Law Basics and Terminations. The others in the series were titled:

            Earned Value Management

            Performance-Based Contracting

            Cost Estimating and Pricing

            Contract Administration and Closeout

            Contract Formation

            Best-Value Source Selection

            Performance Work Statements

 

The two topics we would add are:

            Negotiation – based on Getting to Yes

            Market Research or Appropriation Law – book TBD. The government does a very poor job overall in market research, and the myriad issues surrounding appropriation law are not generally well understood.

 

We have already converted the two we wrote into half-day presentations that were well received. We have taught all of the other subjects as part of other classes, so there is a great deal of original material available to package into half day classes for the other topics. Given the current requirement that all CO’s attend 40 hours of training each year to maintain their warrant, we have observed that this is usually done by taking them out of the office for a full week of training. Several things occur. They are pulled out of the training repeatedly, they are very distracted, they retain very little of the training, they learn nothing really new, and they “fill the square” of putting in 40 hours in the classroom even though a large amount of the time is spent in the hallway on their cell phone. And often this is done in September because they failed to get it done prior to the fiscal year end.

 

We propose to take the full series of ten books and put together half day sessions to be held once a month. Every CO can take a morning or afternoon and attend four hours of quality training once a month. In addition to the ten topics covered by the ActionPacks, we would add one class on negotiations and one class on either market research or appropriations law, each of which are already developed, to cover the full twelve month schedule. A CO only has to attend 10 of the 12 classes to get their 40 hours in.

 

Pricing would be based on a per-seat basis. With sufficient interest we could hold the price to $199 each. We are considering packages such as a company or agency purchasing 20 or 40 or 100 “seats” for the year and being able to send anyone they choose to at a more discounted price. This concept would require that we obtain the facility (or work a barter deal with a current client to offer them a certain number of seats for the use of their facility), and perform our own marketing to sell additional seats. As an NCMA Education Partner we can use their mailing list once each year.

 

CONCEPT 2A

Initially we had considered Concept 2 as occurring in the Denver area, which is our base of operations. An alternative was proposed where we take this on the road to the DC area and offer the class, for example, in the morning in the northern Virginia area, and in the afternoon in the Bethesda area. This would limit travel and attempt to tap a larger market. Since we can use the NCMA list only once, we would expand the class announcement mailing to the east coast as well as to Denver.

 

REQUEST

We are looking for opinions and interest in either of the options to guide us in the development of our next project. As always we remain available for COTS or customized training to all of our clients on any government or commercial contract-related class. Please leave a comment or feel free to direct your comments to me personally via email or through LinkedIn.

Welcome to 2009

January 9, 2009 on 4:41 pm | In CCS News | Comments Off

So a new year has arrived and with it a host of changes. We have a sinking economy, a new federal chief executive and his new administration, a host of new laws and regulations to follow, and more opportunities than we can ever pursue. In the classic sense we are opportunity rich and resource poor.

Reflecting on ’08, there were the usual ups and downs. The most significant down for most small businesses was the shrinking ability to manage cash flow. It seems that everyone slowed down payment and many were caught in the squeeze. For our part, we gained new clients, developed new classes, wrote new articles, and managed to get (most of!) our bills paid on time. There were disappointments with client failures and inability to pay, but business is business and we are NOT looking for any government bailout. We will work through these issues, just as we do with any problem that can be solved. We are, after all, problem solvers!

This new year presents a host of opportunities and challenges. And we are up for it! So take heart, pray for the success of our new president, and work with classic American industriousness to reach your goals for the year. And if you need any help with your contracts – just call us. We are ready to tackle whatever 2009 brings.

Catching Up

October 2, 2007 on 3:54 pm | In CCS News | Comments Off

This blog has been silent for about 90 days for a whole host of reasons -some good, some not. Most of the reasons have to do with a major upswing in business during the last quarter of the government’s fiscal year. Now that the new year is here, it’s time to catch up on a few things!

With our focus now on training, the opportunities have multiplied. We spent a fair amount of time working with the US Army Corps of Engineers on a fiscal law class. Their headquarters required it for anyone who approves invoices or manages accounts, or has the authority to obligate funds. The two and a half day class was presented three times in Seattle and nearby areas and received very positive reviews.

 We have also begun teaching the classes connected with the Federal Acquisition ActionPack series published by Management Concepts. Two of the ten books in that series were written by me(!) and we have begun to structure full or half-day classes around all ten books. The next scheduled one that is open to the public is based on the Government Contract Law Basics text and will be held on November fifth in Norfolk, VA, in association with the Norfolk NCMA chapter.

So stand by! More to come all month! And Happy New Fiscal Year!!!

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