Performance Boosters

Under acquisition reform, program people are expected to team with contracting employees to plan better buys, do market research, rate past performance and develop performance-based statements of work describing what is to be done rather than how to do it. Here are some pointers for crafting performance-based work statements.


  • Describe objectives and results including the agency's minimum requirements.
  • Include background information to clarify requirements and a detailed description of technical tasks.
  • Set performance measurement criteria.
  • Define all terms.
  • Write in short sentences, use simple language, consistent terms, write in the active voice, define abbreviations and acronyms. Avoid pronouns.
  • Failing to identify the objectives to be achieved or technical problem to be solved.
  • Lack of specificity in describing tasks.
  • Abstract phrases, inconsistent terms, errors in cross-references, arcane words, slang.


  • Output, not work performed, is the essence of the work statement.
  • Performance criteria should say which feature of service will be measured, set the limits of successful performance, and provide a maximum error rate. They should be realistic and objective, therefore measurable.
  • Describe the property and services the agency will provide and those the contractor must furnish.
  • Describe tasks in a logical sequence.
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