The contract has been signed, what do you do now? One of the first steps a contract manager needs to take after getting a new contract is to hold a post-award kickoff meeting.
What is a Post-Award Kickoff Meeting?
One or two weeks after a contract is signed, the signatories meet to discuss their obligations under the contract. Usually, the contract manager will be working to schedule the meeting in the weeks before the contract is signed.
This meeting gives both sides the chance to confirm the details of the deal they just finished negotiating.
Why Does It Matter?
It’s easy to think that a post-award kickoff meeting is a waste of time. But, holding this meeting is one of the best ways to avoid contract disputes and to make sure the contract is built on a strong foundation of trust.
Contract negotiations often long and drawn-out. The signatories may not have even read the entire final agreement that their team has negotiated before signing it.
The post-award kickoff meeting reminds everyone what the purpose of the agreement is, and what each side will need to accomplish.
Who Attends the Kickoff Meeting?
For a post-award kickoff meeting to be successful, you need to have the right people in the room. The attendees should include:
- The signatories
- Contract negotiators from both sides
- Contract managers from both sides
- Legal representative from any law firm that helped draft the contract
- People from both sides that will oversee the execution of the contract
Any other major stakeholders should also attend the meeting. You want to make sure everyone at both organizations that will play a part in executing the terms of the contract are clear on what needs to be done and what their deadlines are.
Setting the Agenda
The most crucial role for the contract manager is setting the agenda and keeping the meeting on track. You want to circulate the agenda to all of the meeting participants before the meeting.
The post-award kickoff meeting does not need to be long. Because there are so many different people at the meeting, a strict agenda is essential to getting anything accomplished.
Agenda items should include:
- The specific goods or services the supplier will deliver
- The deadlines for delivery
- How performance will be measured
- The process for requesting changes to the delivery
- The invoice process
- How late payments will be handled
- Any compliance fines
After the Kickoff Meeting
After the post-award kickoff meeting, you should evaluate how well the meeting went. Was everyone in agreement at the end? Where there any unresolved questions? If there were any disagreements about the terms of the contract, you need to send a memo outlining the resolutions to the key players at the meeting.
Any problems that don’t get resolved now will only get worse in the future.
If the meeting was a success and there were no disputes, you should send a brief thank you email that shows you appreciate everyone’s time and congratulating everyone on the successful kickoff to the contract.