The contract administrator should carefully review the contract for all supplier performance requirements; some of which are clearly defined and others which may be indirectly included. It is recommended that the contract administrator develop a performance checklist and calendar to ensure all performance requirements are exposed for scheduled monitoring.
The contract may specify a clearly defined service level agreement (SLA) or acceptance criteria for deliverables describing expectations for the supplier's technical performance. The contract may also necessitate that indirect supplier performance requirements be monitored-the submission of recurring technical, status and/or administrative reports (see subsection 34.2.2); compliance and licensing certifications (see subsection 34.2.2); key personnel, and business or project management obligations.
Here’s a hypothetical example: A contract for developing and implementing a replacement for a critical incident tracking system that links into multiple statewide databases and a federal database was awarded by a Commonwealth agency on January 1, 2008. The application software of the current 10-year old system will no longer be supportable or operational after June 30, 2009. The contract includes a major project milestone deliverable for a 60-day acceptance testing to be complete February 1, 2009. The total contract fixed price is $3 million dollars-half from General Funds and half from a federal matching grant. Thirty days into the acceptance testing a major error occurs that the supplier cannot fix without redesigning a critical interface. By this point in time in the project, due to payments triggered by the completion of interim milestones, $2.5 million of the project budget has been paid to the supplier. With only 6 months and only $500,000.00 in funds remaining before the old system goes away-"Houston, we have a problem."
You can see how budget and schedule performance have the potential to impact both immediate and extended stakeholders. We'll never know how this project turned out and who suffered the biggest impact, but more than likely it ended up in litigation.
Monitoring schedule and budget performance areas may be assigned to the contract administrator, the business owner/project manager or the contract manager, depending on the size and complexity of the procurement and the level of project management required. If the contract required CIO approval, then VITA's Project Management has ProSight and other tools that the contract’s project manager will probably use in performing contract administration functions on these two performance areas. However, the contract administrator will need to be knowledgeable of communications, problems and resolutions surrounding these performance areas and be involved in any related fact-finding, communications, modifications, disputes or claims.
The supplier's contractual performance must be measured by all performance elements and criteria established in the contract. While the reporting, collection, monitoring and evaluation of supplier performance data may be a collective effort by other contract stakeholders, the contract administration function should act as a repository for all performance data and act as overseer to ensure that contractual performance requirements are monitored and reported.
If a supplier's performance is unsatisfactory, the contract administrator and other contractual stakeholders should document, with supporting evidence, their complaint of unsatisfactory or non-conforming performance. For all VITA-issued or VITA-delegated IT contracts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For all non-VITA issued or agency non-delegated IT contracts, contact DPS Contract Compliance.