What is Government Contract Management?

Government Contract ManagementGovernment contract management is a unique academic program that students take to learn about how to successfully sell goods and services to the government. While there are limited amounts of bachelor’s degree programs available in government contract management, postgraduate certification programs are in high demand.

Government Contract Management

Government contract management revolves around establishing and maintaining positive business relationships between government agencies and the private suppliers who provide goods or services to them. Some of the basic practices and principles are similar to the world of commercial contract management, but working with government contracts is more technical and complicated. There are specific and detailed guidelines that government contract managers must understand and follow. Generally speaking, only those with specialized training and knowledge are able to excel in these positions.

Common Challenges

Contract managers must have patience and perseverance because they continually deal with logistics, contractual and scheduling problems. Government contract managers may work with either the local, state or federal government, but they must still work within the specific confines of detailed regulations. Government agencies reserve the right to adjust certain contract terms or project scopes at any time without explanation. While the contractor has the right to be properly compensated for the work they have done and any losses that occur because of the change, receiving reimbursements from the government can be an uphill battle. Missing only a few deadlines with a government agency can result in immediate termination of the contract.

Why Study Government Contract Management?

Students who complete a government contract management program will be able to evaluate complex issues and apply practical principles to resolve contracting conflicts. They will learn how to successfully work with government officials, develop procurement strategies and utilize cost and customer needs analysis techniques. As a result, they will have the sourcing skills needed to satisfy contracts, suppliers and government officials. Government contract management programs will train students to analyze managerial reports, read financial statements and provide concisely written updates. Students will also learn how to leverage technology to develop business processes and evaluate and solve problems.

A Typical Government Contract Management Program

Programs will include common finance classes, such as economics and accounting, and common business classes, such as project management and organizational behavior classes. Key coursework will cover government contract laws, federal acquisition regulations and performance-based contracts. Other important classes will cover contract administration, negotiation and modifications. Students will learn the principles of materials, logistics and purchasing management. Some students choose to a specialized program that focuses on topics like IT, health care and international management. A health care concentration will delve into health care systems, policies and products. An international specialization will explore import, export and supply chain management. A specialization is highly recommended because government contracts cover every possible field of business.

Related Resource: Global Financial Manager

Students who are serious about spending their career in government contract management should pursue certification through the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), because government employers prefer to hire NCMA-certified managers.