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Service Contracts Making Life Better. Louis Sellers Contracts Administration Manager General Counsel Division. Service Contracts Making Life Better. I am not an attorney. I do not give legal advice.

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Service contracts making life better

Service ContractsMaking Life Better

Louis Sellers

Contracts Administration Manager

General Counsel Division


Service contracts making life better1
Service ContractsMaking 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.


Service contracts making life better2
Service ContractsMaking 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


Find slas that make life better
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


What are some factors that might be usable slas
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


What are some factors that are more difficult slas
What Are Some Factors That Are More Difficult SLAs?

  • Courteous communications

  • Appropriate dress

  • Professional demeanor

  • Subject matter expertise

  • Quality of decisions


Harder to measure satisfaction factors
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.)


Milestones that make life better
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


Milestones that make life better1
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


Communications in service contracts
Communications in Service Contracts

A successful communication

is one that elicits the desired response.


Communications in service contracts1
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.


Communications in service contracts2
Communications in Service Contracts

  • Use a variety of communication channels

    • Face to face

      • Optimizes many complex discussions

    • Paper document

      • Has gravity and is durable

    • Email

      • 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


Communications in service contracts3
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




Communications in service contracts6
Communications in Service Contracts

Work in Progress

Quality

Rework

Inventory


Communications in service contracts7
Communications in Service Contracts

  • Diagrams show relationships


Modifying a contract by customs and practice
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.


Modifying a contract by customs and practice1
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


Modifying a contract by customs and practice2
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.


Modifying a contract by customs and practice3
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.


Modifying a contract by customs and practice4
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.


Unauthorized performance evaluations
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!”


Unauthorized performance evaluations1
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.


Unauthorized performance evaluations2
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.


Unauthorized performance evaluations3
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.


Service contracts making life better3
Service ContractsMaking Life Better

  • SLAs and milestones in service contracts

  • Communications in service contracts

  • Modifying a contract by customs and practice

  • Unauthorized performance evaluations


Contact information
Contact Information

Louis Sellers

Contracts Administration Manager

General Counsel Division

(512) 936-1676

[email protected]


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