If you have a passion for acquisition, you probably have a favorite contract type. Or if you have managed a challenging contract, you may have a least-favorite contract type. My favorite contract type is cost-plus-award-fee (CPAF).
Why is CPAF my favorite type? For several reasons.
CPAF provides incentives that correspond to measurable performance standards for performance-based acquisition, while also incorporating professional judgment re award fee amounts
CPAF requires the Government and Contractor to communicate continuously on expectations, progress, and any impediments
CPAF easily allows some flexibility if mission objectives are altered and revised needs emerge, or technology capabilities evolve
You can attract top talent to your contract because you pay for top talent (rather than forcing everyone into the same hourly rate for the same year of experience regardless of the individual’s talent and productivity)
You can attract top talent to your contract because companies want to put their best employees on profitable contracts (rather than lose money on the hourly rate)
CPAF with regular award fee assessments communicates the Government’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the contractor performance. CPARS reviews are too often done too late to change the course of the project. Let’s face award fee and profitability gets the attention of any contractor, no matter how large so the award fee assessment provides near-term feedback up the chain
CPAF is a win-win for the Government and the Contractor when projects are successful (see reasons 1-6 that contribute to successful projects)
Love to hear your favorite contract type. Or even why you don’t like CPAF.
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Ms. Lisa Akers brings 25 years of proven Federal and Industry leadership experience, as well as extensive functional expertise in acquisition, program management, assisted acquisition shared services and business operations management. As Executive Vice President of Solutions at Seventh Sense Consulting (SSC), Ms. Akers is responsible for developing and delivering innovative solutions to meet client requirements and objectives. Prior to joining Seventh Sense Consulting, Ms. Akers served as President (2013- 2016) for ASI Government’s Products and Solutions Division where she was responsible for managing the Virtual Acquisition Office (VAO) used by 25,000 federal acquisition professionals and as President (2010 – 2013) for ASI’s Consulting Division that had a $35M portfolio focused on acquisition and program management support services to federal government agencies. Prior to joining ASI Government, Ms. Akers spent over 16 years in the General Services Administration, Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (GSA FEDSIM) where she was the FEDSIM Director for her last five years and Deputy Director for the previous four years. FEDSIM is an assisted acquisition organization specializing in large information technology and services acquisitions with $1.4B annual obligations on behalf of 100+ other federal agencies. Ms. Akers received the 2011 FED100 award for her work as Industry Lead for the ACT-IAC 25 Points to IT Acquisition Reform and the 2006 FED100 award for industry outreach and stakeholder management for the ALLIANT and ALLIANT SB GWACs. She received the Meritorious Service Award while at GSA. She holds a bachelor's degree in Microbiology from Pennsylvania State University, and a master's degree in Information Technology Systems from George Washington University.