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Create a matrix similar to the one shown in Table 4-3 and list all the requirements

or tasks (this includes the contents of referenced documents as well as

T a b l e 4 - 3 — T a s k Q u a l i f i c a t i o n

Project A Project B Project C Project D Project E

Task 1 X

Task 2 X X

Task 3 X

Task 4 X

Task 5 X X

Task 6

explicitly included documents) as rows and the projects (including IR&D programs)

that the enterprise has performed as columns. Every requirement or task

should have an ‘‘X’’ at the intersection between the requirement and at least

one program. If not, continue with the process to try to bring the SOW within

your capabilities.

To try to bring the SOW within your capabilities, you must create a Risk

Mitigation Plan and determine how the risk can be neutralized. (Note that Task

6 in the table has no entries and therefore must be brought within your capabilities).

If the SOW is truly not within your capabilities, you have two alternatives,

neither of which is usually within the purview of the project manager but must

be defined and then taken to management for approval or action.

If the task is within the state of the art, you may be able to buy resolution by

teaming or creating an alliance with another company. Sometimes, simply hiring

one or several individuals with the requisite knowledge will solve the


If it is not within the state of the art and you have not already bid the project

then no-bid. If it is not within the state of the art and you have already bid the

project, then ethics requires that you must immediately meet with the customer

and discuss the issue. Of course, you are at the mercy of the customer and his

lawyers at this point, and you may well end up repaying whatever reparations

are necessary (i.e., you committed and expanded funds but did not perform).

This is the point where we ask ourselves the perennial 2 .. wake-up question:

‘‘Why did we bid this thing in the first place?’’

1c (NO) The SOW was not properly interpreted.

When an SOW is not properly interpreted, it can, and probably will, affect

the budget, the schedule, and the quality of the product. In order to be properly

interpreted, it must obviously contain all the pertinent information that needs

to be interpreted.

Discovery of this kind of situation probably means you bid the task or scope

incorrectly and could be in for a lot of headaches. Further, you need to know

why the requirements definition (negotiating) team made the interpretation

they did so it won’t happen again. If you have a good negotiator and a reasonable

customer, you may be able to adjust the contract to incorporate the new

interpretation as added scope. If not, you’ll have to absorb the costs.

In order to be properly interpreted, an SOW must be properly defined. An

SOW is properly defined when it fully describes the products or services to be

delivered and states when and where they are to be delivered. Each product

or service (sometimes called Contract Line Item Numbers or CLINs) must be

separately listed. Additionally, the following documents should be referenced,

but are usually not included:

Task Description

Deliverable Documents List (sometimes called Contract Data Requirements

List or CDRL)

Period of Performance


Reference Documents (referenced but not included)

Modifying Factors (for example, the number of labor hours of specific

disciplines that must be provided)


Financial Information (usually referenced but not included in the SOW)

Any item in or referenced by the SOW is a legal part of the SOW in a program

and an ethical part of the SOW in both a program and a project. Therefore,

each of these items must be understood. It is a good idea to search the entire

SOW and find all the requirements and the modifiers and group them together

for your own purposes.