3.8 Finalize Specifications/Statement of Work

3.8.1 Gathering Requirements

The Procurement Officer must facilitate open dialogue with the identified stakeholders to gather requirements for the procurement. Requirements are the essential features and functions that must be met by the provided good or service. The Procurement Officer should encourage discussion and ask sufficient and pertinent questions to ensure the stakeholders fully understand the requirements. Some examples of questions to consider when collecting requirements are:

  • Who/what area is impacted by this procurement?
  • What are the key functions the needed goods/services must meet?
  • What factors will impact this purchase?
  • When are the goods/services needed?
  • Where will goods be delivered and/or services performed?
  • Why are the goods/services needed?
  • How must goods/services be provided or delivered?
  • What key approvals are necessary and who must provide these approvals?
  • What specific quality or quantity needs must be considered?

If the requirements are incorrectly, inaccurately, or incompletely specified there is little chance the proposed solution will meet agency expectations. Taking the time to ask these questions and elicit input from the Procurement Team will improve the procurement outcomes.

3.8.2 Develop Detailed Specifications/Scope of Work

A specification is any description of the physical or functional characteristics, or of the nature of a good, service, or construction item.  The term includes descriptions of any requirement for inspecting, testing, or preparing a good, service, or construction item for delivery. A specification should describe the features and functions of a product or service an agency seeks to procure along with a description of what a vendor must offer to be considered for an award. Specifications are the primary means of communicating agency requirements to the vendor community.

Specifications determine and control the:

  • Minimum quality level of the product or service;
  • Suitability of the product or service for the job to be done; and
  • Method of evaluation used in making an award and determining the best value proposal for the purchase.

The Procurement Officer should develop specifications that meet the following characteristics:

  1. SIMPLE: Avoid unnecessary detail, but provide sufficient information to ensure that requirements will satisfy their intended purpose.
  2. CLEAR: Use terminology that is understandable to the agency and proposers. Use correct spelling and appropriate sentence structure to eliminate confusion. Avoid legalese, specialized language and jargon whenever possible.
  3. ACCURATE: Use units of measure compatible with industry standards. All quantities and packing requirements should be clearly identified.
  4. COMPETITIVE: Identify at least two commercially available brands, makes, or models (whenever possible) that will satisfy the intended purpose. Avoid unneeded “extras” that could reduce or eliminate competition and increase costs.
  5. FLEXIBLE: Avoid inflexible specifications that prevent the consideration or acceptance of a proposal, which could offer greater performance for fewer dollars. Use approximate values such as dimensions, weight, speed, etc. (whenever possible) if they will satisfy the intended purpose. If approximate dimensions are used, they should be within 10% unless otherwise stated in the solicitation document.

The end product of a well-written specification should be expressed as SMART:

  • Specific – clearly states what is required
  • Measurable – to confirm when it has been met
  • Achievable – can be done, is technically possible
  • Realistic – is reasonable, is not cost prohibitive
  • Timely – achievable within an acceptable timeframe

A scope of work, sometimes called a statement of work, or scope of services, is a description of the requirements of services to be performed. The scope of work may include material requirements to perform the needed services.  A scope of work should contain the following information:

  • Background of the procurement
  • Objectives to be achieved
  • Contractor’s tasks
  • Deliverables
  • Schedule (performance, deliverables and payment)
  • Department responsibilities

3.8.2.1 Mandatory Specifications

As the Procurement Team works to develop the specifications it should be aware of statutorily mandated specifications as detailed in Part IV of HRS-103D. In accordance with HRS §103D-405, specifications shall seek to promote overall economy and encourage competition, and shall not be unduly restrictive.

Examples of statutory specifications set forth in the procurement code include, but are not limited to:

  • Roadway construction materials
  • Construction materials
  • Hawaiian plants in public landscaping
  • Light duty vehicles
  • Recycled products

Outside contractors may be utilized to prepare specifications and work statements in the development of a solicitation.  Contractors paid for those services are not allowed to bid on or receive a contract when they participated in any way in the development of the solicitation package or any resulting contract.  In all cases, the Procurement Officer and Team should review these statutory requirements to ensure they are properly incorporated into their specifications, as appropriate.

3.8.2.2 Mandatory Specifications for Competitive Purchase of Services – Health and Human Services

HRS §103F-402, Competitive purchase of services, was established to promote uniformity in health and human service procurement. Service specifications shall address in detail each of the following items and if an item is not applicable to the request for proposals, the specification must state that it is not applicable:

  1. Minimum or mandatory activities
  2. Probable funding amounts, source, and period of availability
  3. The need or problem the service addresses
  4. Goals of the service
  5. Target population to be served
  6. Geographical coverage of service
  7. Expected outcome measurements
  8. Units of service and unit rate, as applicable
  9. Quality assurance and evaluation specifications, as applicable
  10. Whether single or multiple contracts are to be awarded and define the criteria for the multiple award, if applicable
  11. Whether single- or multi-term contracts are to be awarded and define the terms, including but not limited to initial contract term and conditions for extension
  12. Reporting requirements for program and fiscal data, and provide sample forms and instructions, as available or appropriate
  13. Minimum or mandatory administrative requirements
  14. Minimum or mandatory personnel requirements
  15. Pricing or pricing methodology to be used, as applicable
  16. The method or procedure for compensation or payment
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