Why New AC Professionals Need Career Gateway: Acquisition
Elevate your technical competency and essential professional skills while learning how to collaborate, innovate, and solve problems effectively. You will learn to analyze the situation, use critical thinking to dissect your options, and then identify the best solution for the situation at hand.read more
6 Tips for Writing an Exemplary Statement of Work
Ensure a smooth proposal evaluation process by crafting an exemplary Statement of Work (SOW) that leaves nothing open to interpretation.read more
Get Ready for the GSA Multiple Award Schedule Contract Consolidation
One of the cornerstone initiatives of the General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Marketplace Strategy is a plan to modernize and simplify the buying and selling experience for customers, suppliers, and acquisition professionals. This initiative, known as Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Consolidation, seeks to modernize Federal acquisition by consolidating 24 Multiple Award Schedules into a single Schedule for products and services.read more
Will a SOW, PWS, or SOO Work Best to Achieve Your Objective?
Traditionally, a Statement of Work (SOW) would be drawn up to provide every possible detail of the objectives, process, and assessment of an acquisition.
Then, the idea of performance-based work arose. Why not simply tell the contractor what you want the result to be and give them the freedom to accomplish it in the best possible way with a Performance Work Statement (PWS)?
Ten Acquisition Communication Lessons from the OMB Myth-Busting Memos
From the start of solicitation development through debrief, effective communication is essential for the success of any government acquisition. Over the past decade, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued four “myth-busting memos” that dispelled widespread misconceptions that have gotten in the way of success. As Michael Wooten assumes his position as Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), there is talk of making use of this creative communication method to further enhance engagement. Here is a quick summary of most of the issues that have been addressed in prior myth-busting memos:read more
Federal Government Procurement & Contracting News: Essential Facts about the Transition from DUNS to SAMMI
The Federal contracting times are changing and the transition from DUNS to SAMMI has begun. Here are a few nuggets of information for the acquisition communities pursuing Federal Government Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) training and certification.read more
3 Key Influencers of the Federal Budget Process
Understanding the budget process and how to work with decision-makers is important for stewards of Federal funding. From the onset, it’s critical to be familiar with the key influencers of budgets and their responsibilities.read more
3 Ways Bid Protests Can Help Improve Source Selection
Anyone involved in the government contracting process can tell you that bid protests cause a great deal of anxiety. From the stress caused by the ding on performance evaluations to the automatic stay and the loss of revenue, neither the government nor private industry view a bid protest as a positive.
Despite the discomfort that bid protests cause, there is a positive that can be found in the action. The bid protest is probably the best learning tool that contracting professionals can utilize to refine their source selection methods.read more
How and When Should Government Engage Industry?
At the February 2018 ACT-IAC conference Lifting the Curtain: Requirements Development in Federal Acquisition and Reverse Industry Day, the question of when to engage industry emerged. The most controversial idea was presented by James William, Partner at Schambach & Williams Consulting. During Panel I- Behind the Scenes: Understanding the Government Requirements Gathering Process, Mr. Williams offered that government could invite industry to the table to assist in the creation of the statement of need and the evaluation factors. By engaging industry in the requirement development process, early and often, requirements will be better defined, better solutions will be offered, the evaluation process will be streamlined, the Procurement Acquisition Lead Time (PALT) will be minimized and the government will achieve best value.read more
Three Initiatives to Help Improve the Acquisition Workforce
As a new year begins, agencies are also making their resolutions. High on their list are ways to keep employees engaged, energized, and focused on meeting mission goals. These are the top three initiatives we’ve seen when helping our clients identify ways to improve the acquisition workforce.read more
National Cyber Security Awareness Month: 3 Steps to Safeguarding Your Contracts
As another government fiscal year comes to a close, agencies are moving to the execution phase. For contracts that involve cybersecurity elements, acquisition planning, and contract administration have become increasingly more complex with the recent laws and regulations governing cybersecurity. With October designated as National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this is a perfect opportunity to review current and new contracts and self-audit existing cybersecurity management practices.read more
Three Important Questions When Planning for IT Acquisitions
The government spends approximately $80 billion on Information Technology (IT) acquisitions. How do you plan for IT acquisitions, and how do you make decisions about your IT spending?read more
With Protests on the Rise, What Can Agencies Do?
GAO’s statistics show that bid protests have been climbing for the last several years. Given the protest statistics, what can agencies learn from GAO decisions and how can they protest-proof their awards?read more
In Search of CLPs: You Don’t Have to Look Far, But You Do Have to Look
Have you thought about your continuous learning requirements lately? Or is it something that you keep buried in the back of your mind until the last minute? If so, you’re not alone. But maybe it’s time to refresh your mindset for continuous learning.read more
Federal Spotlight: Suzi Inman
Suzi Inman serves as Acquisition Management Specialist/Contracting Officer’s Representative at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division, in Crane, Indiana. She is also Vice President for Membership and Chapter Organization for Federally Employed Women (FEW). Here is our Federal Spotlight interview.read more
3 Steps to Advance Your Contracting Career
What should you do differently this year to move forward on your path to success? While there are often roadblocks to skill development in the Federal acquisition and contracting workforce, here are three steps you can always take that will help you reach the next level.read more
On the Horizon: The Status of Category Management
With the change in administration comes change in the Federal acquisitions horizon, and there is reasonable concern that the focus on category management could shift. However, while there is much on the new administration’s agenda, it looks like category management is here to stay—at least for now.read more
Is Fear of Protests Guiding Your Behavior?
We often hear students and agencies wanting to know how to avoid protests. I think we first need to establish that companies competing for government business have a right to protest when they feel the source selection was improperly conducted. We believe properly conducted debriefings that communicate why the losing offeror was not selected significantly help to prevent protests that offerors feel are the only way to obtain a fair explanation. Other explanations for protests have been argued but the fact remains that transparency in the debriefing can effectively dissuade protests. Of course, failure to document the rationale for your decisions will not help.read more
NCMA World Congress 2016 Recap
Last week, I attended the National Contract Management Agency’s (NCMA) World Congress 2016. It’s the premier education event for contract management, procurement…read more
NCMA World Congress 2016 – Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces
After attending my first ever NCMA conference last year – the Government Contract Management Symposium (GCMS) – I made it my mission to secure a spot as a breakout…read more
Fourth Quarter Preview: What is the SBA up to?
As we approach the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, we are coming upon the time of the year when the most simplified acquisitions and awards to small business…read more
Five Things to Know about SBA’s Proposed Governmentwide Mentor-Protégé Program
In case you haven’t heard, the Small Business Administration (SBA) plans to make a sweeping change to the Mentor-Protégé Program. Stemming from the Small Business Jobs…read more
ACT-IAC Acquisition Excellence 2016 Recap – The Breakout Session Edition
Earlier this week my colleague, Vi Zenone, discussed some of the outstanding things that occurred during ACT-IAC’s Acquisition Excellence 2016 event last week…read more
Highlights from ACT-IAC’s 2016 Acquisition Excellence Conference
When was the last time you attended a conference and the whole room burst into song? OK, don’t answer that out loud. Typically, for an event where public and private…read more
Part Two: FPSW Labor Violations and Takeaways for Contracting Officers
Earlier this week I provided background on President Obama’s Executive Order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (E.O. 13673) and discussed its impact on the Federal…read more
Part One: Understanding Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (FPSW) for Contracting Officers
Released on July 31, 2014, President Obama’s Executive Order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (I call it FPSW – pronounced: fip-swuh) (E.O. 13673) has caused quite…read more
Acquisition and Appropriations Law – Making the Connections
There are many intersections between the two disciplines of Acquisition and Appropriations Law. Federal Acquisition managers more and more must have a fundamental…read more
The FY16 NDAA Acquisition Provisions
Last year, as we all brined our turkeys and prepared for the annual harvest feast, President Obama signed S.1356, the National Defense Authorization Act…read more
NCMA GCMS 2015 Recap: Breakout Session Edition
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the National Contract Management Agency (NCMA) Government Contract Management Symposium (GCMS) for the first time…read more
Phaedra Chrousos, Associate Administrator of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at GSA captured the attention of an audience of about 900 people on Tuesday…read more
Working as an Acquisition Team
Under the Guiding Principles in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), FAR 1.102-3 – Acquisition Team states that identifying the members of the acquisition team…read more
Contracting Light Bulb
Our acquisition community takes a lot of hits for failures in the information technology arena. We all know there are many more reasons for those failures than the…read more
COR Competencies: The Art of Working Smarter, Not Harder for the Contracting Officer’s Representative
As a COR, you are the treasured resource on the acquisition team. For that reason, it is important that you are always improving your skills.read more
Challenges in Acquisition Training
I ran across this article in the July edition of NCMA Contract Management. It was written by a colleague of mine, Denean Machis. I found that it provided an…read more
FITARA: Improvement or Impasse?
Anyone associated with government IT acquisitions, project management, or systems operation is likely to be familiar with the recently passed (Dec. 19, 2014) Federal Information Technology…read more
What Makes a “Practice” Best?
During the Civil War (as the story goes) a Union Soldier’s widow approached President Lincoln to complain about her husband’s death. Her complaint was that…read more
When is an RFI not an RFI?
Answer: When the government mistreats it as a solicitation, which is a Request for a Quote (RFQ) (FAR Part 13), Invitation for Bid (IFB) (FAR Part 14), or Request for Proposal (RFP) (FAR Part 15)…read more
The Struggle to Improve IT Acquisition
The Federal government wastes about half of the $80 billion per year it spends on IT. Agencies spend, on average, seven times more on IT…read more