Dec 31 2009

Tips for ROI on PBAs

With the administration directing agencies to use performance-based buys as much as possible, a team of agencies has created a guide to help make the process easier.

The in-depth guide, "Seven Steps to Performance-Based Services Acquisition," can be found on the new "Acquisition Central" Web site, at Here are the actions the guide suggests an agency take for one of the toughest PBA challenges, deciding how to measure and manage performance:

  • Review success determinants
  • Rely on commercial quality standards
  • Have the contractor propose metrics and a quality-assurance plan
  • Select only a few meaningful measures on which to judge success
  • Include contractual language for negotiated changes to the metrics and measures
  • Apply the contract-type order of precedence carefully
  • Use incentive contracts
  • Consider the award term
  • Consider other possible incentive tools
  • Recognize the power of profit as a motivator
  • Most important, consider the relationship

To read more about getting the most from performance-based buys,
flip to our story here.

Off the Shelf

Recommended Reading

BY WHOM: Charles Havekost, CIO for the Health and
Human Services Department
BOOK: Managing Management Time: Who’s Got the
By William Oncken Jr.
WHY: “When I got my first supervisory position, my boss
sent me to a two-day class called ‘Managing Management Time’
that came with a book of the same name. The course and the book were
insightful about interpersonal dynamics in the workplace, especially between
the person giving assignments and those who receive assignments.

Those assignments are likened to monkeys on our backs that we attempt to
transfer or delegate to others, as well as the steps that people will take to dodge
assignments/monkeys or transfer them back to the original owner, thus the book’s unusual subtitle. The book uses simple and amusing situational examples to help the reader understand motivations and outcomes.


1) How to delegate an assignment and make it stick
2) How to build a supervisor’s trust in a way that leads to empowerment

I still return to the book periodically, usually as a general refresher but also if I ever
feel overwhelmed by tasks that I should be delegating.

Clearly and completely delegating — handing off a few ‘monkeys’ — can brighten
any executive’s day.”