Value of Post-Award Kickoff Meetings in Contract Management
The ink might barely be dry on the documents, but that doesn't mean you can kick back and relax just yet. After signing a contract, it's crucial that you hold a post-award kick-off meeting as soon as possible in order to get everyone on the same page. Below, you'll find an overview of everything you need to know about how to start off your contract on the right foot.
What Is a Post-Award Contract Meeting?
The post-award contract meeting is where both signatories sit down and come to a mutual understanding of their obligations and responsibilities under the contract. You should plan this meeting well in advance, ideally a few weeks before the contract is actually signed, and hold it within one or two weeks of signing so that the knowledge and memories are still fresh in attendees' minds.
Why Is a Post-Award Contract Meeting Important?
Holding a post-award contract meeting is important, because members of both contract teams may move on quickly after signing the document. As such, it's important to capture and share their knowledge with the people in charge of delivering the specified services and administering the contract.
The post-award contract meeting is where both parties will hash out their assumptions, expectations and objectives and come to a common understanding of what is required of them. During this time, you should address any glaring errors and omissions, as well as discuss the scope of the work, the deliverables and the schedule for delivering them, the criteria for accepting the deliverables, and the expected systems for communication and feedback.
Who Should Attend a Post-Award Contract Meeting?
Of course, the people involved in writing and signing the contract should attend this meeting: the contract negotiators, as well as representatives from any legal firm who helped draft the contract. In addition, you'll want to invite people who have a great deal of knowledge about the product or service to be delivered so that they can provide their insight if need be.
Next, you should invite stakeholders and leaders from both companies who will be involved in implementing and enforcing the contract. This includes people such as executives, project managers, functional managers, contract managers and project office managers. Bringing all of these people together at once may be a challenge, even through video conferencing, so consider breaking the meeting into multiple parts.
What Should You Discuss at a Post-Award Contract Meeting?
There are countless topics that could be discussed at a post-award contract meeting, so it's important to narrow down the agenda right away. Some of the most important issues are:
- The specifics of which products and services the supplier will provide, and according to which schedule
- How to measure the supplier's performance
- How to handle changes to the contract and the deliverables
- How invoices will be submitted and approved, and how the supplier will be paid
At the conclusion of the meeting, everyone involved should have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of the contract, the client's expectations in terms of the quality of the deliverables, and the points of contact to be consulted for any further questions or issues. Any key takeaways from the meeting should be assigned owners and due dates so that they can be achieved in a timely manner.