Lesson Learned/Best Practice Briefing


TitleSubcontractor Requirements Flow-Down Process

EventOther Facility Event

Event Date

CategoryProject Management Office (PMO) - Requirements

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge) requirements were not consistently being flowed down into service subcontracts and purchase orders. An assessment identified several cases where the requirements from Contractor Requirements Documents (CRD) were not clearly incorporated into service subcontracts and purchase orders. Establishing a cross-functional team to review service subcontracts and purchase orders will ensure that requirements are being appropriately flowed down.


The current primary method used for communicating flow down of requirements is through Oak Ridge internal procedures, which are accessed by subcontractors through Exhibit L, List of Mandatory Contractor Procedures. This can result in an inadequate definition of requirements for subcontractors or cases of Exhibit L requirements being evoked which were not applicable to the scope of work being performed. This can result in overprescribing requirements for narrowly focused services or under-prescribing requirements for unique services or purchase orders.

Oak Ridge's contract has changed from a predominantly DD contract to one with a much more diverse scope. The time over which this change occurred did not allow ample resources to be dedicated to review present programs to determine if they were sufficient for the change in work scope. However, after identification of issues during assessments, a cross-functional review team was established for six months and focused on reviewing individual service contracts and purchase orders. This team made many recommended changes to the individual contracts or purchase orders mainly due to a better understanding of the tasks through group sharing of knowledge and experiences. While changes were made and service contracts and purchase orders were subsequently approved with added quality from these reviews, the team determined that additional changes are programmatically needed to either institutionalize the use of the review team or to make procedure, template, and form revisions to better define requirements. The team found that there were great variations in the Documents' purposes, scopes, and requirements, which did not lead to identification of immediate specific program changes. However, common themes and possible issue causes were identified, such as:

-Majority of SOWs (Statements of Work) required enhancements

-All SOWs were Acquisition Level 3 actions

-Heavy reliance on flowing down existing procedures in lieu of requirements

-False expectation that Supply Chain Management (SCM) personnel know all requirements and will put them in the contractual documents

Possible Causes:

-Inexperienced personnel requesting or managing requests for service contracts or purchase orders

-Insufficient/unclear procedural guidance

-Inexperienced requestors/reviewers

-False expectations that requirements will be further defined after submittal to SCM through use of Formation Teams

The following action is recommended to prevent the occurrence of a similar incident:

Establish a process improvement team to determine how best to institutionalize recommended changes. The team should consider the following improvement areas:

-Benchmark programs of other DOE sites for improvement initiatives

-Establish an up-front team process that meets face-to-face to identify requirements

-Develop a process to utilize templates for repetitive requirements

-Flow chart the process for clearer understanding of proper execution

-Evaluate/develop alternative process to flow down requirements in lieu of "flowing down procedures"

-Develop training for the process steps

Originating Organization: URS CH2M Oak Ridge LLC

Lesson ID: B-2019-OR-UCORESHQ-0301

Date: 3/28/2019

Actions to Prevent Recurrence

Lessons Learned are part of the ISM Core Function 5, Feedback and Improvement. Applicable Lessons Learned are to be considered during working planning activities and incorporated in work processes, prior to performing work.
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