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News | Sept. 12, 2019

Diverse team examines contractor effectiveness

By Matthew Montgomery DCMA Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency’s Contractor Effectiveness capability working group brought together a diverse mix of individuals from around the agency to develop short and long-term strategies to better support the workforce, Sept. 4-6.

The three-day gathering’s mission was to understand and evaluate accomplishments of the group so far, identify gaps within the issuances, assess training and resource page documentation, and develop plans and schedules to roll out revisions. The group also spent time developing additional supporting materials to assist the workforce with mission accomplishment.

The individuals undertaking this effort included personnel from headquarters, regional contract management offices, field CMOs, other capability groups, the Process Development Office, Strategic Planning and Analysis Division, and the agency’s internal audit team.

On the first morning of the event, the success of getting the four assigned instructions and 14 associated manuals into publication was highlighted.

“This represents a monumental undertaking and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the group,” said Niclas Chavez, CE co-team leader. “It’s one thing to talk about changes and what can be done to make things better and easier for the workforce, it’s another thing completely to put it in writing and codify it as a document.”

Next the group took an introspective look at the CE’s current state to identify known gaps and to form teams to develop solutions to bridge identified areas.

“The discussion was very passionate and candid as we looked at areas that needed improvement,” said Chavez. “But, it was a very important step in continuing to improve the CE capability.”

Many of the inconsistencies and areas for improvement – disconnects between manuals, resource pages not being fully populated, or tools not being fully available – were discussed in detail.

“This dialogue was critical for the capability leadership to truly identify and correct the weaknesses from the initial roll out of the capability’s products," said Richard Fanney, executive director of the Technical Directorate and CE manager. “Issuances and supporting materials will be updated using the feedback from this valuable session.”

After the deficiencies were established, the team focused on enhancing current products for the field.

“By getting updates and tools to the field quickly, we enable our personnel to achieve their mission in a more efficient manner,” said Chavez. “This results in cost savings across the entire acquisition enterprise.”

The group outlined its approach, set priorities, and developed a communication path to relay progress with all stakeholders. On the last day, John Lyle, DCMA deputy director, was briefed on the progress and the path forward.

“Regions will be provided regular and reoccurring status on how the CE capability is progressing to its end goal of supplying the field with the required tools they need to achieve the mission,” said Chavez. “This ensures leaders are tracking progress and have realistic expectations for implementation.”

The capability group co-team leaders provided insight to the future, something they currently call the 2.0 CE Structure. This structure will provide input on ways to further improve and lean out processes to reduce overlap of tasks so field personnel can dedicate more time to mission execution.

DCMA’s Business Capability Framework is a set of high-level contract management functions that support the agency’s strategic plan and capture the results of the daily, multi-functional activities of personnel in order to provide actionable insight to the defense acquisition enterprise.

The CE capability helps DCMA inform the military departments, defense agencies and the Department of Defense field activities who delegate contract oversight responsibilities. This ultimately helps them with evaluating individual contractors and determining their ability to effectively manage operations in compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in awarded contracts.

“The framework is also a cultural shift from our previous way of doing business,” said Fanney. “Previously we had stove-piped functional policies that instructed functional specialists exactly how to do their jobs. We have moved to multi-functional instructions that provide the overall guidance and allow the field to tailor requirements to their specific situations.”

Functional guidance will still be provided through the use of the resource pages, which will allow each functional specialist to use their knowledge, skills and abilities to do their job while enabling the CMO functional leads to ensure work is performed in a multi-functional effective manner.

“The CE gathering was the next step toward working this cultural change across the agency and was highly successful in meeting its goals,” said Fanney.

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