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Service Contracts Making Life Better Louis Sellers Contracts Administration Manager General Counsel Division.

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Presentation on theme: "Service Contracts Making Life Better Louis Sellers Contracts Administration Manager General Counsel Division."— Presentation transcript:

1 Service Contracts Making Life Better Louis Sellers Contracts Administration Manager General Counsel Division

2 Service Contracts Making Life Better  I am not an attorney.  I do not give legal advice.  I am offering my personal thoughts and opinions, not those of the Office of the Attorney General.  Check with your agency’s attorneys regarding any contractual or legal issues.

3 Service Contracts Making Life Better  Service Level Agreements (SLA) and milestones in service contracts  Communications in service contracts  Modifying a contract by customs and practice  Unauthorized performance evaluations

4 Find SLAs That Make Life Better!  Use SLAs that are related to your requirements  Use measurable outcomes  Use SLAs that are reasonable  Use SLAs that are easily understood

5 What Are Some Factors That Might Be Usable SLAs?  Response time to communications  Response time for an incident  Resolution time for an incident  Billing dispute resolution time

6 What Are Some Factors That Are More Difficult SLAs?  Courteous communications  Appropriate dress  Professional demeanor  Subject matter expertise  Quality of decisions

7 Harder to Measure Satisfaction Factors  Helpdesk satisfaction (use surveys and call-back counts)  Report quality (use metrics for content, citations, grammar, formatting)  Personal presentation of staff (define appropriate dress and appropriate language)  Personal interaction with staff (define “easy to work with”, “effective communicators”, etc.)

8 Milestones That Make Life Better  Place milestones at important points where a change in the process is noticeable: When contractor arrives When a report is delivered When a report is accepted When a particular service is made available When an old system is turned off When a new process is accepted When a contractor identifies and defines a requirement

9 Milestones That Make Life Better  At interim points during the creation of a report: When information gathering is complete When surveys are distributed When a draft review meeting takes place When consensus is reached  At the completion of some reasonable hours of work: A specific number of hours of design effort A specific number hours of customer training

10 Communications in Service Contracts A successful communication is one that elicits the desired response.

11 Communications in Service Contracts It is the responsibility of the sender of the message to ensure:  that it is received,  that it is understood,  and that will elicit the desired response.

12 Communications in Service Contracts  Use a variety of communication channels Face to face  Optimizes many complex discussions Paper document  Has gravity and is durable  Quick and convenient but may not appear serious Telephone  Solves complex back and forth issues but may require documentation to memorialize the content Smoke signals  Vague and now prohibited in most counties

13 Communications in Service Contracts  Use a variety of tools Tables  Quick identification of variance and outliers Charts  Intuitive understanding of trends and outliers Flow charts  Clearly show linear and iterative process Diagrams  Show relationships and complexities

14 Communications in Service Contracts  Tables

15 Communications in Service Contracts

16 Inventory Work in Progress Rework Quality

17 Communications in Service Contracts  Diagrams show relationships

18 Modifying a Contract by Customs and Practice  What does this mean? Performing at a different level than is specified by the contract over time until everyone understands that this is the expected performance level.

19 Modifying a Contract by Customs and Practice  How does this happen? Not documenting low performance Not discovering low performance Not recognizing low performance Not knowing what constitutes low performance

20 Modifying a Contract by Customs and Practice  What else can happen? A vendor may want to perform above the level that is required. A vendor may accidentally overperform. A vendor may not understand the requirements.

21 Modifying a Contract by Customs and Practice  What is one to do? Know what performance level is required. Discover performance levels. Learn to recognize performance levels. Document low and high performance levels.

22 Modifying a Contract by Customs and Practice  It is important to ensure that vendors perform at required levels, because the competitive procurement process relies on enforcement of contractual performance levels.

23 Unauthorized Performance Evaluations  Who provides unauthorized performance evaluations? Anyone with vendor contact might say:  “Gee, you did a great job!”  “This is NOT how it is done.”  “My fifth grader could have done this.”  “This is a lot better than what we expected.”  “We aren’t paying for this!”

24 Unauthorized Performance Evaluations  Why does this happen? Dedicated, hard-working people often do not know the details of the contract. People often have an idea of what is right and wrong that is not necessarily aligned with what is in the contract. People have experience with contracts that have other terms. A particular level of performance may be good for one user and not for another. It may not be a very good deal.

25 Unauthorized Performance Evaluations  Why is this a problem? It may mislead a vendor into poor performance. It may shift a vendor’s focus from what the contract intended. It may be detrimental to the agency’s effort to elicit performance. It may be used as evidence in court.

26 Unauthorized Performance Evaluations  What is one to do? Communicate to the vendor how performance evaluations are – and are not – provided and why this is important. Communicate to those with vendor contact how performance evaluations are – and are not – provided and why this is important.

27 Service Contracts Making Life Better  SLAs and milestones in service contracts  Communications in service contracts  Modifying a contract by customs and practice  Unauthorized performance evaluations

28 Contact Information Louis Sellers Contracts Administration Manager General Counsel Division (512)


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