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.

2 Comments

  1. Tom here are my thoughts:

    Concept 1 – even after all these years of T&M use it is somewhat still misunderstood and often misused. It has a place just as your suggested course. I believe your Parts I-IV cover what needs to taught regarding T&Ms.

    Concept 2 – Federal Actions Packs, what a great idea particularliy the use of them to meet tne CO’s yearly training needs. I believe a morning or afternoon traing once a month would be more meaningful and they would retain what they learned so they could put the training to use! By the way, with the two you wrote and the ones listed I only count 9 Federal Action Packs. What am I missing?

    Also I have two other training suggestions: “Change Management” (an area that seems to get little attention yet is critical to avoid not getting paid for work performed – I’m sure you probably cover it under Contract Administation and Closeout course). and “Conducting Negotiations and Contract Modification Procesing Consistently and Timely” (not the best title and probably difficult to develop but the need to negotiate and process the definitization modification can take way too long).

    On Concept 2A you may want to do the traing in Denver, East coast as you described and consider a West coast session!

    Sorry for the rambling but I hope this is helpful!

    Thanks for keeping in touch and I will give you a call. Great idea with your Blog!

    Regards,
    Roger
    719-549-5225

    Comment by Roger Ganger — August 30, 2010 #

  2. I think both concepts are extremely viable, topical and useful! Obviously they are attracting (or rather should be attracting) different clientele!

    Although I cannot speak for the government CO’s (utilizing concept 2), I personally feel that this is an extremely valuable and useful class concept. In actuality, both classes could be ‘enjoyed’ by Government CO’s as the first class would better position them for “teaming with” the governmental contracting community to produce a “Win-WIn” rather than be placed in an adversarial relationship!

    Comment by Charlie Moschel — August 30, 2010 #

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