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Quality Assurance Program

Cowan & Associates, Inc. (C&A) is implementing an ISO 9001 Quality Control Program. The level procedures C&A is developing will document how C&A does business and will ensure all work performed will conform to all Navy and Seaport-e Quality Program requirements. C&A level procedures will identify the engineering, integration, and servicing processes, which directly affect quality to ensure that all specified processes, are carried out under controlled conditions. Controlled conditions will include the following:

  • Documented procedures

  • Use of suitable tools and equipment

  • A suitable working environment

  • Compliance with standards/codes, quality plans, and/or documented procedures

  • Monitoring and control of suitable process parameters and product performance characteristics

  • A formalized approval and rejection/correction process, as appropriate.

C&A’s performance measurement tools provide timely, and accurate, validation and monitoring of services. C&A’s Quality Program will provide an umbrella for achieving performance measurement of the Seaport Program. C&A’s program management team utilizes an iterative process to measure and collect metrics, perform analysis, and report findings to our management team. This process, used across the organization achieves uniformity and consistency of measures and metrics in all areas of support. The Measures and Metrics process comprises the following six major activities:

  • Produce Estimate – Work will be directed within the affected area to determine measurements that help identify the critical factors for successful goal completion. A refined estimate is then used as a baseline and compared with actual results.

  • Collect Measures – Measurement data are collected monthly or on an event-driven basis from the support service areas. The measurement data will be the performance standards as set forth in the contract quality assurance surveillance plan and task order performance requirement summaries.

  • Document Measures – Documenting measures involves validating the measurement data and storing it in a repository in this case data would be stored in the C&A Project Control System (PCS).

  • Analyze Measures – The estimate assumptions are monitored at each monthly measurement-reporting cycle. If assumptions change, estimates must be regenerated with the revised assumptions. Any significant variances are explained to be sure that they are consistent with the assumptions and the metric analysis.

  • Report Results – The estimates and measurements are analyzed to produce program, process, and product metrics results. Reports are interpreted and, if necessary, corrective activities are identified. Team C&A will use this data for monthly Progress, Status, and Management Reports. Monthly reports will be consolidated annually for a performance assessment report.

  • Continuous Improvement – The primary objective of the Performance Measures and Metrics Program is to support continuous improvement of the products and the processes that support the Seaport-e Program. Ongoing measurement and analysis can be used to evaluate the trade-off between the cost of changes and the resulting benefits from the improvement effort. C&A will provide performance incentives to its staff as appropriate.

A commitment to quality and service excellence is demanded from all members of the C&A Team, resulting in a continuing pursuit of client satisfaction objectives. Service Excellence comprises a suite of Microsoft Office 2000 tools, other tools and processes, measurements, and behaviors that will promote success on the Seaport-e Program. This approach also encourages collaboration across teams, increases client feedback, and brings a common focus to service improvement.


Cowan & Associates
Quality Control Program (QCP)
 
Table of Contents

1.         Introduction
2.         Objectives
3.         Strategy
4.         Approach
4.1.      Define Performance Baselines
4.1.1    Project Plan
4.1.2    Risk Management Plan
4.1.3    Regulations
4.1.4    Standards & Best Practices
4.1.5    Performance Requirements Summary
4.1.6    Requirements Traceability Matrix
4.1.7    Change Control
4.2.      Manage Risk
4.3.      Apply Methodologies and Best Practices
4.4.      Monitor and Inspect
4.4.1    Comparison against Performance Baselines
4.4.2    Compliance Reviews
4.4.3    Automated Tools
4.4.4    Peer Reviews
4.4.5    Independent Validation
4.4.6    Customer Reviews
4.5.      Safeguarding Information
4.5.1    Handling of Classified or Sensitive Information
4.5.2    Information Security
4.6.      Report Status and Performance
4.7.      Resolve Deficiencies
4.7.1    Re-performance
4.7.2    Defects
4.7.3    Unacceptable Performance
 
1.         Introduction
The Federal Government and DoD have published legislation and policy that require performance controls in programs and projects funded by government agencies. Relevant legislation may include:

· Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 – Mandates the use of performance metrics.
· Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 – Requires agency heads to achieve, on average, 90% of the cost and schedule goals established for major and non-major acquisition programs of the agency without reducing the performance or capabilities of the items being acquired.
 
Consistent with government policy, the terms of individual contracts and delivery orders, any work performed by the Cowan Team will be subject to the provisions if this QCP.
 
2.        Objectives
The Cowan Team will be responsible for management and quality control actions to ensure that our work meets the terms of the contract, and will implement a Quality Control Program (QCP) that includes a series of inspections and monitoring actions to ensure a "self-correcting" contract that identifies and corrects potential errors or omissions in work products before final delivery to the customer and to correct deficiencies prior to the point they would impact the customers mission.
 
The general objectives of our QCP include:
• Align tasks and work products with the customer’s program goals and objectives;
• Prioritize task plans (scope, schedules and resource allocation) in a manner that is consistent with the customer’s priorities;
• Optimize the return on funding expended under the order; and,
• Complete deliverables and work products that always meet or exceed the minimum standards for relevance, clarity, completeness, error rates, and customer satisfaction metrics provided by the PWS.
 
3.        Strategy
Our strategy for implementing our QCP will be to adapt selected principles and techniques from program and project management best practices such as those published in the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Also certain contracts will implement management controls such as the Earn Value Management System (EVMS).
 
The Cowan Team will incorporate the general principles and selected artifacts from these widely accepted project management best practices into our planning, monitoring and reporting activities, balancing the expected benefits with the overhead necessary to fully implement these approaches.
 
Our QCP approach is outlined in the next section. The Cowan Team will incorporate the appropriate oversight, inspections and monitoring functions from the QCP into the baseline project plan and any subsequent revisions.
 
4.        Approach
The Cowan Team will perform various functions to provide the oversight, inspections, monitoring and other performance management activities required to ensure that our work products meet or exceed the minimum standards defined in the PWS. We will incorporate the following general performance management functions into the project plan:
 
1. Define performance baselines
2. Manage risk
3. Apply methodologies and best practices
4. Monitor and inspect
5. Safeguard information
6. Report status and performance
7. Resolve deficiencies
 
While the Contracting Office Representative (COR) is responsible for the surveillance activities outlined in the PWS, the Cowan Team is responsible for management and quality control actions to meet the terms of the contract.
 
4.1.     Define Performance Baselines
In addition to the minimum performance requirements defined in the PWS, the Cowan team will normally propose to the customer performance baselines against which progress and deliverables will be monitored and inspected to ensure that the performance objectives are fulfilled.
 
4.1.1    Project Plan
The Cowan Team will normally deliver a high-level project plan within thirty (30) days of contract award to serve as a performance baseline for scope, schedule and resource allocation for the customer’s objectives and deliverable requirements known at the date of award. The project plan will incorporate overarching major elements of project management best practice such as:
· Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) – A task oriented detailed breakdown, which defines the work packages and tasks at a level above that defined in the networks and schedules.
· Integrated Master Plan (IMP) – An event-driven plan that documents the significant accomplishments necessary to complete the work and ties each accomplishment to a key program event.
· Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) – An integrated and networked multi-layered schedule of program tasks required to complete the work effort captured in a related IMP. The IMS should include all IMP events and accomplishments and support each accomplishment closure criteria.
· Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) – The time-phased budget plan against which project performance is measured. Assessment of the PMB is conducted through Integrated Baseline Reviews (IBRs).
 
The Cowan Team will incorporate the appropriate elements of these planning tools into a project plan that will be presented to the customer within thirty days after contract award for review and acceptance by the COR. To finalize the cost, schedule and performance goals, the Cowan Team will facilitate an Integrated Baseline Review (IBR), which is an assessment of the PMB to ensure the adequacy, accuracy and risks of the PMB.
The project plan will incorporate quality control functions, such as monitoring and inspections, as outlined in this QCP.
 
4.1.2     Risk Management Plan
The Cowan Team will prepare a basic risk management plan (RMP) to present to the customer for review and acceptance concurrent with the project plan. The RMP will identify general project risks and specific risks for the deliverable and requirements defined at project initiation, and will include subjective assessments of the likelihood of occurrence and potential impacts related to each risk. The RMP will include actions recommended by the Cowan Team to mitigate risks and summary contingency plans for high probability and high impact risks, and other risks for which the COR requests mitigation and contingency plans. The RMP will also identify the means by which and frequency with which risk will be monitored.
 
4.1.3     Regulations
Work performed under this task order may be subject to requirements put forth in legislation, Government, DoD or local policy. We will identify and comply with pertinent regulations as requirements for work performed under this contract.
 
4.1.4     Standards & Best Practices
The Cowan Team will employ relevant standards from bodies such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Standards Organization (ISO), and employ best practices from the PMI PMBOK.
  
4.1.5     Performance Requirements Summary
The PWS outlines minimum quality and performance standards for the task performance objectives. We will develop performance thresholds as a baseline against which to monitor and inspect all deliverables and services.

4.1.6     Requirements Traceability Matrix
Where appropriate, such as in tasks involving drafting complex documents or implementing business processes, the Cowan Team will develop a requirements traceability matrix (RTM) for the specific task. Each RTM will identify specific business, functional and technical requirements that must be addressed to satisfy the task objectives. The Cowan Team will present each RTM to the customer for review and acceptance to validate our understanding of the task requirements. For monitoring and inspection functions, we will compare each draft deliverable against the appropriate RTM to ensure completeness and suitability of the deliverable, in cases where an RTM is employed.
 
4.1.7     Change Control
The Cowan Team will be responsible for coordinating with the COR to implement change requests through a change control process. Upon request by the COR, we will prepare a revised project plan and performance baseline that incorporates any changes to the tasks, deliverables, requirements, schedule or resources detailed in the project plan. The Cowan Team will also update the RMP and any relevant RTMs to reflect the adjusted project scope. We will present the revised performance baseline for an IBR, if requested, or for review and approval by the COR.
 
4.2.       Manage Risk
Risk is inherent in every project and business operation. The Cowan Team will identify project-, deliverable-, and task-specific risks, as well as general risks having the greatest potential impact to the completion of each task. As outlined in section 4.1.2, we will normally provide the customer a RMP, monitor risks as specified in the RMP, notify DoD when risks are realized, and make recommendations to the COR regarding executing contingency plans.
 
4.3.       Apply Methodologies and Best Practices
Numerous organizations publish methodologies and best practices for functional areas within the scope of this task order, such as management, acquisition, communications and information technology. The Cowan Team maintains awareness of best practices in its core services through training, research and internal knowledge sharing. The Cowan Team staff members are experts at best practice research in government, DoD and executive education, and we routinely expand our best practice knowledge base in response to our specific customer needs.
 
For the scope of work identified in the PWS, we will routinely assess the applicability of methodologies of executive education best practices and any other relevant sources. The Cowan Team will recommend the appropriate methodology best practice elements to the customer in its project and task plans. With the customer’s concurrence, we will adopt the recommended processes, techniques and templates.
 
4.4.       Monitor and Inspect
 The Cowan Team will routinely monitor and inspect its services and deliverable using a variety of techniques.
 
4.4.1     Comparison against Performance Baselines
The Cowan Team will compare each service or deliverable against the appropriate performance baseline(s) such as the project plan (see 4.1.1) and requirements traceability matrices (see section 4.1.6) to determine if the work satisfies the stated objectives, requirements, standards, schedule and performance thresholds. The Cowan Team will correct any deficiencies prior to final delivery.
 
4.4.2     Compliance Reviews
We will review each deliverable for compliance with pertinent regulations and standards (see section 4.1.3) and adherence to applicable methodology guidelines (see sections 4.1.4 and 4.3).
 
4.4.3     Automated Tools
The Cowan Team routinely uses tools such as spelling and grammar checkers to minimize typographical, grammar and spelling errors in its written work. The Cowan Team will perform automated spelling and grammar checks on all deliverables prior to submission to GSBPP.
 
4.4.4     Peer Reviews
Prior to submitting each major deliverable, we will conduct a peer review to provide an independent assessment of performance against baselines and to assess overall quality of the deliverable.
 
4.4.5     Independent Validation
On occasion, we independently validate our services for internal control purpose. For example, the Cowan Team might assign two staff members to documents notes for the same meeting. The staff members would then cross-check there notes for errors and omissions and to take corrective actions. Alternatively, from time to time, we might request authorization to record the audio portion of meetings to aid in validating the meeting notes for errors and omissions.
 
4.4.6     Customer Reviews
The Cowan Team will include in the project plan a draft review period for each major deliverable, during which customer representatives will be invited to read a near-final version of the deliverable and provide feedback. We will confirm feedback with the COR or the designated authority, and incorporate authorized feedback into the final deliverable.
 
4.5.       Safeguarding Information
The Cowan Team will take appropriate information assurance measures to safeguard customer information and IT infrastructure.
 
4.5.1     Handling of Classified or Sensitive Information
The Cowan Team will assign staff that have obtained the minimum security clearance specified in the PWS. In addition, we will comply with any requirements for the firm and its employees assigned to this task order to execute non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or other similar agreements intended to guard the acquisition sensitive and mission sensitive data to which Cowan Team staff might be exposed.
 
4.5.2     Information Security
The Cowan Team implements conventional measures to protect electronic data processed or stored on our network and computing equipment. Cowan Team information security and information protection measures include network firewalls, personal firewalls, anti-virus software, file backups, and physical security at its corporate offices. The Cowan Team will implement any additional measures required or recommended by the customer for this task, such as file or whole disk encryption for any very sensitive but unclassified information stored on contractor computers (i.e., Data At Rest protection).
 
4.6.       Report Status and Performance
The Cowan Team will provide DoD monthly written reports that document project performance and deliverable status. Status reports for each period will include:
· a summary of accomplishments;
· actual performance against the performance baselines (see section 4.1);
· variance analysis for cost/schedule variances exceeding an acceptable threshold;
· risk status (see section 4.2);
· customer complaints received and disposition;
· other issues; and,
· planned activities for the next reporting period.
 
The Cowan Team will meet with the COR in-person or by phone to review status reports on a monthly basis, or as needed.
 
4.7.       Resolve Deficiencies
4.7.1     Re-performance
In the event that the customer deems that a deliverable or service provided by the Cowan Team fails to meet the minimum performance thresholds defined in the PRS, we will re-perform the task at no cost to the Government, unless the Government is determined to be responsible for or a contributing factor to the unacceptable performance.
 
4.7.2     Defects
For customer complaints validated by the COR regarding incomplete work or work not performed, we will initiate corrective actions within four hours. For any corrective action expected to take more than four hours to complete, we will provide the COR an action plan and schedule for correcting the defect.
 
4.7.3     Unacceptable Performance
For significant or repeated failures to achieve the minimum performance threshold defined in the PWS, we will provide the Government a written response why the performance threshold was not met, how performance will be returned to acceptable levels, and how recurrence of the cause will be prevented in the future.

 

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