Quality Assurance Program

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Purpose

This Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) sets forth the procedures and guidelines that will be used in ensuring the required performance standards or services levels are achieved by Crowned Grace International. The purpose of the QAP is to describe the systematic methods used to monitor performance and to identify the required documentation and the resources to be employed. The QAP provides a means for evaluating whether Crowned Grace International is meeting the performance standards/quality levels identified in the Performance Work Statement (PWS) / Task Orders (TOs) of each area identified. The intent is to ensure that we perform in accordance with the performance metrics and the Government receives the quality of services called for in the contract. A properly executed QAP will assist our Customer in achieving their objectives.

This QAP defines the roles and responsibilities of all members of the Project Team (PT), identifies the performance objectives, defines the methodologies used to monitor and evaluate our performance, describes Quality Assurance (QA) documentation requirements and describes the analysis of QA monitoring results.

1.2 Authority

Authority for issuance of this QAP is provided under the section which provides for inspections and acceptance of the services and documentation called for in the contract, to be executed by the Contracting Officer or a duly authorized representative. Inspection and acceptance will be performed at the appropriate level. Deliverables will be accepted or rejected by a COTR. The COTR will be appointed by the Contracting Officer and identified in the contract.

1.3 Scope

To fully understand the roles and responsibilities of the parties, it is important to state that the Contractor and not the Government, is responsible for management and quality control actions necessary to meet the quality standards set forth by the contract and follow-on task orders. The Contractor develops and submits a Quality Control Plan (QCP) for Government approval in compliance with the contract. Once accepted, the Contractor then uses the QCP to guide and to rigorously document the implementation of the required management and quality control actions to achieve the specified results.

This QAP is put in place to provide Government/Customer surveillance oversight of the Contractor’s quality control efforts to assure that they are timely, effective and are delivering the results specified in the contract and/or task order.

2.0 Performance Management Approach

Our performance management approach involves in-depth planning, frequent and transparent communication, constant and vigilant monitoring, incentivizing excellence, risk planning and mitigation and implementing immediate corrective action, when necessary. The Customer/Government Representative(s) will monitor performance and review performance reports furnished by Crowned Grace International to determine how we are performing against communicated performance objectives. The Customer/Government will make determinations regarding incentives based on performance measurement metric data and notify us of those decisions. Crowned Grace International will be responsible for making required changes in processes and practices to ensure performance is managed effectively.

2.1 Planning

Each task will be planned as a separate project. In every case, we will finalize the task requirements; create a project scope statement; write a project charter; create a WBS, activity list and network diagram; determine and identify the necessary resources; create a process improvement plan; develop communication methods and frequencies; and perform risk identification, risk analysis, and risk response planning.

2.2 Communication

Effective communication is the key to every project. Expectations and requirements must be clearly communicated with every stakeholder on the project. Once all the stakeholders have been identified and the appropriate method of communication has been planned (meetings, emails, status reports, etc.), the bulk of the communication work is the timely and transparent distribution of information and the management of stakeholder expectations. Crowned Grace International employs a strategic communication SME who will ensure project- and program-level communication is appropriately inclusive, timely and concise.

2.3 Monitoring

We understand that proactive, vigilant monitoring of all aspects of a task will be required in order for that task to be successful. Our task leads will be involved and informed at every level of project execution and will communicate successes and areas of concern to program leadership, which will ease the burden of governance and oversight on the part of the government.

2.4 Incentivizing Excellence

Common sense dictates that appropriately incentivizing team members leads to higher morale, higher productivity, lower absenteeism and a greater commitment to quality. We value the contributions of all our employees and often offers bonuses, raises, promotions, team lunches and dinners and public recognition for a job well done. We recognize that, at a Program level, our successes will be incentivized by the government through the award of more contracts / task orders.

2.4.1 Personnel and Subcontractor Management

Crowned Grace International recognizes the value of developing personal relationships with all of our employees. That philosophy extends to our teaming partners and subcontractors, as well. We firmly believe that expectations must be clearly communicated and understood in order to be a cohesive and productive team. Additionally, once the expectations have been communicated and understood, performance must be monitored and evaluated on an on-going basis – to include the quality of work, morale, attendance, and even relationships with others. Crowned Grace International performs semi-annual evaluations for all employees at every level of the company and provides feedback and guidance designed to encourage professional growth and a motivation to excel. Where areas of concern or opportunities for improvement exist, counseling is immediately available and course corrections are made, as needed. This is also true with our partners on projects, since we approach opportunities where subcontractors co-exist with us using a “one-team” mentality. Our task order team members (employees and subcontractors) will be evaluated on a regular basis for the duration of their task and incentivized or counseled appropriately. Our business rule of managing our people in this way means that the government will not be obligated to provide burdensome oversight.

2.5 Risk Identification, Analysis and Mitigation

Early in the planning stage of every assignment/task order, our team will identify all the potential risks which could threaten the project and will incorporate these into a Risk Register. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses will be done on these identified risks and the findings and mitigation strategies will also be recorded in the Risk Register. By continuously tracking these risks, many might be avoided, which would save time, effort and money on the task. For those that cannot be avoided, a mitigation strategy can be immediately implemented and the danger to the project might be minimized.

2.6 Immediate Corrective Action

Through diligent monitoring and the use of standard project metrics, the project/task lead will know if an area becomes a cause for concern. If the cause for concern is a previously identified risk, a mitigation plan can be immediately employed. If the emergent problem could not have been foreseen, the task lead, the Program Manager and, if warranted, even the government lead can be brought together to seek a solution. Where the problem can be resolved or mitigated without involving the government lead, the event and resolution will still be communicated to the government lead for awareness purposes.

2.6.1 Cost Control and Reporting

Crowned Grace International recognizes that in a fiscally constrained environment, cost overruns on a government project cannot be tolerated. There is just no margin for error. Our project leader/task order lead will have many options when it comes to controlling cost; and resource-leveling, risk management and quality control will be chief among them. Our Program Manager is proficient in the use of Earned Value Management (EVM) techniques and will continually track planned value vs. earned value on all task orders to help ensure that no control thresholds are triggered. If there is a risk that might cause the potential for a cost overrun, immediate corrective action will be taken. Regular status reports to the government lead will be scheduled, and these reports will contain information about the performance measurement baseline, among other things. In addition to these regular status reports, any irregularities regarding cost, schedule or scope will be immediately communicated to the government lead for awareness purposes.

2.6.2 Schedule Adherence

In exactly the same way cost overruns cannot be tolerated on a government project, schedule overruns are equally unacceptable and frequently lead to cost overruns and a variety of other problems. For greater control, the Program Manager will consider using the Critical Path Method on most task orders that require a specific end date. Because careful planning will have been done during the task order kick-off, the task manager will know exactly where the project is and should be at any given time. In addition, the task manager will have a variety of program management monitoring tools like the Schedule Performance Index to assist in determining any schedule variations. Again, any deviation from the schedule will be immediately communicated to the government lead.

3.0 Delivering Conforming Services with Minimal Government

As was previously stated, our performance management approach involves in-depth planning, frequent and transparent communication, constant and vigilant monitoring, incentivizing excellence, risk planning and mitigation and implementing immediate corrective action, when necessary. By strict adherence to these industry-accepted best practice activities, Crowned Grace International can successfully deliver all task orders on time, within budget, and all with a minimal amount of government oversight. Our subject matter experts can integrate seamlessly with the government’s team to accomplish the work that needs to be done and a robust communication strategy will be in place to ensure that government project leadership remains engaged and informed every step of the way, rendering onerous oversight unnecessary.

3.1 Roles and Responsibilities

The following Government resources shall have responsibility for the implementation of this QAP:

3.1.1 The Contracting Officer (CO)

The Contracting Officer (CO) is responsible for monitoring contract compliance, contract administration, cost control and for resolving any differences between the observations documented by the government PMO for support services and the contractor. The CO ensures performance of all necessary actions for effective contracting, ensures compliance with the terms of the contract, and safeguards the interests of the United States in the contractual relationship. It is the Contracting Officer which assures the Contractor receives impartial, fair and equitable treatment under the contract. The CO is ultimately responsible for the final determination of the adequacy of the Contractor’s performance. The CO will designate a Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) as the Government authority for Performance Management. The number of additional representatives serving as technical inspectors depends on the complexity of the services measured, as well as the contractor’s performance, and must be identified and designated by the CO.

3.1.2 The Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR)

The COTR is designated in writing by the CO to act as his or her authorized representative to assist in administering a contract. COTR limitations are contained in the written appointment letter. The COTR is responsible for technical administration of the project and ensures proper Government surveillance of the contractor’s performance. The COTR is not empowered to make any contractual commitments or to authorize any contractual changes on the Government’s behalf. Any changes that the contractor deems may affect contract price, terms or conditions shall be referred to the CO for action. The COTR will have the responsibility for completing QA monitoring forms used to document the inspection and evaluation of the contractor’s work performance. Government surveillance may occur under the inspection of services clause for any service relating to the contract.

These Crowned Grace International personnel shall have the following responsibilities:

3.1.3 The Program Manager

Our Program Manager will be responsible for all work done on all task orders issued related to the task orders awarded under this contract. The Program Manager will be responsible for communicating status and other updates to the government and to Crowned Grace International leadership. The overall health of the entire program is the responsibility of the Program Manager.

3.1.4 The Quality Manager

Our Quality Manager will assume overall responsibility for quality management, metrics development and reporting for this contract. In addition, he/she will be responsible for the overall management of all requirements.

3.1.5 The Task Order Leads

The Task Order Leads will be responsible for the successful completion of their projects. They will also be responsible for the quality of work done, staffing, performance, evaluations, mentoring and motivating the members of their team. They will also be responsible for schedule, scope, cost and risk management on their project. The Task Order Leads will be responsible for communicating status and other updates to the Program Manager.

3.2 Methodologies to Monitor Performance

3.2.1 Government Surveillance Techniques

In an effort to minimize the Performance Management burden, simplified surveillance methods shall be used by the Government to evaluate contractor performance when appropriate. The sample primary methods of surveillance used could be:

  • Random monitoring, which shall be performed by the COTR-designated inspector.
  • 100% Inspection – Each month, the COTR shall review the generated documentation and track summary results in a Surveillance Activity Checklist or in a manner convenient to the COTR such as a summary spreadsheet.
  • Periodic Inspection – the COTR may perform periodic inspections of project work. Monthly inspections are typical.

3.2.2 Crowned Grace International Self-Surveillance Techniques

Our QCP documents program-level measurement activities which provide the PM with the quantitative information to make effective decisions. We will collect information in these five categories:

These metrics developed by Crowned Grace International allow the task order leads and PM to accurately report on service quality, schedule and cost control, business relations, management of key personnel, technical performance, service requirements maturity, operational variances and internal process performance. We will use the following surveillance strategies to support QCP administration:

3.3 Contract Deliverables

All contract deliverables will be received by the government on time and will be complete, correct and professional in appearance and substance. Crowned Grace International takes pride in our ability to produce quality products – whether that product is a status report or an operating manual. We will submit all deliverables electronically to the COTR in a format that is compatible with the government’s standard baseline – Microsoft Office. These deliverables, which will be stated in each of the assigned task orders, are subject to government review and acceptance. All deliverables will become property of the government.

We will submit a monthly status report, covering the first day of the month through the last day of the month, by the 10th day of the month to the CO or COTR (or as described within the contract). Each task in progress will be summarized to identify the Task Order Manager for both the government and the Contractor, the task objective, progress, planned activities, information about deliverable status, and problems. The problem summary section will describe any problems and proposed solutions, if applicable, and problem resolutions. For Time and Material (T&M) task orders, the expenditures section will summarize tabular and/or graphically estimated costs and labor hours, overall and by task. Data will include:

  1. Labor hours and dollar amounts expended for each labor category from the effective date of the contract thru the last day of the current reporting month;
  2. Labor hours and dollar amount expended by category during the current reporting month;
  3. Estimates of labor hours (by category) to be expended during the next reporting month; and
  4. Identification of direct labor hours of prime Contractor and subcontractor(s), if applicable.

The COTR may have Crowned Grace International generate other reports, as necessary.

3.3.1 Documentation

In addition to providing required reports to the Contracting Officer, the COTR will maintain a complete Quality Assurance file. The file will contain copies of all reports, evaluations, recommendations, and any actions related to the Government’s performance of the quality assurance function, including the originals of the Quality Assurance Checklists. All such records will be maintained for the life of the contract. The COR shall forward these records to the Contracting Officer at termination or completion of the contract.

3.3.2 Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS)

The CPARS system is a web-enabled application that is accessed via the Internet website, https://www.cpars.gov. This system allows the government individuals assigned to management of specific contracts/orders as an Assessing Official Rep/Assessing Official to enter proposed ratings and supporting narrative or remarks. These ratings are relative to the contractor’s performance for a specific contract/order. Our recommended Performance Standards, Evaluation Periods, Incentives, Task Assessments and Evaluation Ratings are outlined in the Appendices of this QAP.

3.4 Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Through the implementation of both a task order strategic communication plan and an overarching program communication plan, we expect to establish and maintain a regular rhythm of communication with project stakeholders. This rapport will invite constant feedback and will provide Crowned Grace International with a sense of the overall progress of the program and the associated task orders. Client satisfaction is the most significant external indicator of the success and the effectiveness of all services provided and can be measured through either complaints or praise. Feedback may also be obtained either from the results of formal surveys or from random comments made during the ordinary course of business.

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