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Posted by on Dec 11, 2013

Federal Contract Source Selection…Let’s Work Together

GMGSSWhen involved in Federal acquisition source selection, Charles Solloway, Jr., author of The Government Manager’s Guide to Source Selection, highlights the need for stakeholder consensus as imperative to contractual success. Solloway believes the need for stakeholders to collaborate is not just a business cliché, but rather a vital step in the procurement process.  Any stakeholder can be a showstopper in the effort to reach a timely consensus on how to proceed with an acquisition. Reaching a consensus is no easy matter. Here are his methods behind the madness:

Method One: “Throwing Papers Over the Wall”

Paper Flying in Mid Air

The first method – and unfortunately still used in an acquisition strategy enlists the Project Management Officer to independently develop a strategy and pass those strategy papers back and forth for agreement or comments from a variety of other stakeholders. This can be a time-consuming and confusing process, where revised papers repeatedly are thrown back and forth over various functional area walls until the concerns of the various stakeholders are satisfied—or until stakeholders either compromise or ultimately, surrender their positions.

Our Consensus? No go – way too much time and effort on the Project Management Officer; and you’ll be in for the long haul!

 Method Two: Collaborative Strategy MeetingsRaised_hands

A better strategy? Hold several acquisition strategy meetings where all stakeholders are present. Many agencies require such meetings, especially for major procurements. The Project Management Officer, together with the contracting officer, proposes a strategy and gains input from all stakeholders, who then get to voice their concerns and listen to the concerns of others. These meetings include consideration of any planning input previously provided in planning meetings with interested contractors.

Our Consensus? These strategy groups are more often able to reach a mutual decision. Agencies have a concrete mechanism for obtaining a final strategy decision from execs within the agency. Choose whichever method works best for your situation and make sure you’re able to keep your acquisition strategy on-course. Which method would you choose?  Which has worked in your agency; and what has not? 

Excerpted with permission from of The Government Manager’s Guide to Source Selection by Charles D. Solloway, Jr., CPCM, a book in the new series The Government Manager’s Essential Library. © 2013 by Management Concepts, Inc. All rights reserved.

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