The company doth protest too much, methinks…

http://conciergeriedesdunesdopale.fr/45471-dtf58848-site-de-rencontre-pour-adulte.html Borrowing from Shakespeare’s Hamlet lets me address a question we are frequently asked:

http://college-nescens.com/32054-dtf90656-site-de-rencontre-gratuit-homosexuelle.html buy generic neurontin Are GAO protests worthwhile?

Protesting a contract award decision is a fundamental right exercised by government contractors who feel the Government’s decision was incorrect or inappropriate.

In 2019 the GAO received 2,071 protests. 587 resulted in GAO decisions on the protest’s merit and of those only 13% were sustained by the GAO. A higher amount, around 31% of filed protests, resulted in the protester gaining some form of relief, typically from agency voluntary corrective action. That’s a total ‘effectiveness’ rate of 44%. (Note 1)

How does that compare with history? A 2015 report by the Congressional Research Office noted that between 2001 and 2010 protest filings increased by 125% and between 2010 and 2015, the number of protests had leveled to between 2100 and 2300 annually. The so-called ‘effectiveness’ rate during 2010 and 2015 hovered between 41% and 44%. (Note 2)

So, protests seem to have leveled off and the ‘effectiveness’ rate is consistent. But, even with that 44% effectiveness rate, are GAO protests worthwhile?

That depends.

If an agency action was truly outside the bounds of propriety, such as when the Government failed to award based on its published selection criteria or created an uneven playing field (e.g., shared insider knowledge), then protesting is a proper course of action.

However, the GAO’s results indicate that 56% of the time a protest is denied or dismissed on its merits, indicating that the arguments put forth were not persuasive or that the Government acted properly. Further, some of the 31% leading to voluntary correction only return the situation to a proper course but do not alter the Government’s ultimate decision. So, the 44% ‘effectiveness’ rate is misleading.

If your company is considering a protest because you simply did not like the Government’s decision, think twice about your inclination.  Win or lose, a GAO protest stops contracting activity cold and impacts the Government’s ability to do its job. Schedules are set back, deadlines are missed, and funding goes unobligated. Human nature being what it is, protests often create tension between a contractor and the Government. Occasionally, these tensions will affect relationships, perhaps even to the point of impeding one’s ability to win.

Borrowing from Shakespeare again – the better part of valor is discretion. Often, energy is better spent on ensuring you thoroughly understand the Government’s requirements and objectives ahead of time. Do your best to create a positive relationship before a solicitation is issued and submit a fully compliant and compelling proposal up front. Then, plan to accept the outcome. This way you can avoid the need to consider a protest at all, absent a clear indication that something is amiss.

Contact us to help you prepare for your next proposal. Or let us help you analyze recent losses to better understand how to improve your win rate. Either way, we can help.

Note 1: All data from the 2019 GAO Annual Report to Congress on Bid Protests
Note 2: GAO Bid Protests: Trends and Analysis – Updated July 21, 2015

OTA’s Rising

When issuing new contracts, the Federal Government is increasingly bypassing the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and increasingly using a long underused, but recently updated approach called Other Transaction Agreements (also OTA). Given this significant shift, you will benefit from knowing what changes to anticipate and how to adjust your company’s approach to pursuing Government work.

OTA’s allow Government agencies to cast their nets wider when considering a broader range of businesses now eligible to win Government contracts. The OTA is designed to prioritize opportunities for small businesses or “nontraditional” defense contractors that do not typically work with the Government. Traditional defense contractors can also be eligible when they meet specific criteria, meaning defense industry leaders such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon can participate as well.

In a study by Bloomberg Government, DoD’s OTA obligations have grown by almost 80% year-over-year, with total Pentagon OTA contract obligations expected to reach as high as $7 billion for the fiscal year ending in 2019. If this trend continues, 2020 could easily see $12 billion in OTA obligations. Clearly, this is an area worth watching closely if you are working with the Government (or wish to be). Examples of recent OTA awards include:

  • The Army issued $265 million to Microsoft Corp to date as part of a pilot program to develop heads-up displays for ground personnel using its Hololens augmented reality headset
  • DHS issued $10 million to the Border Security Technology Consortium for development of surveillance tools
  • HHS issued $41 million to date in fiscal 2019 to Johnson & Johnson as part of a five-year, $273 million contract to develop drugs to mitigate the threat of pandemic illnesses
  • The Army recently finalized a $384 million deal with Raytheon for six missile defense radars called LTAMDS, designed to replace the Patriot missile defense radar

The vast majority of OTA funding has been awarded through various consortia, the largest of which is Advanced Technology International (ATI). In these cases, OTA requests are not posted through official government channels such as SAM (System for Award Management) – they are typically issued as Requests for White Papers from the consortia to its members. Thus, if you are not a consortium member you may never see the RFW and cannot submit a bid. Fortunately, becoming a member of a consortium is not difficult or expensive, but it takes planning to decide upon which consortia to join.

If you need help navigating the OTA landscape, please give us a call.

How to Score When Page Constrained

by Luanne Smulsky

The RFP’s SOW/PWS is 30 pages, and the Government wants your technical solution to address all requirements within 15. You must be compliant, persuasive … and concise.

Easier said than done? Indeed! But with the right outline, time to prepare, and skilled writers, your proposal can comply http://janrebel.eu/100jaar/nggallery/page/2/album-10/laren-vredelaan and be convincing – even within tight page limits.

ClientView helps SMEs prepare concise drafts with annotated outlines. We often recommend addressing each SOW/PWS task as follows:

  1. 1-2 sentence Task Understanding – without using the words “we understand”
  2. 3-5 sentences about the Solution – HOW you’ll accomplish the tasks with process, tools, and people, NOT what you’ll do
  3. Proof – brief (maybe 3 sentences), but replete with quantitative results your solution provided other customers

Focused writing is challenging. If you’re struggling, give us a call. We have plenty of examples and are adept at drawing out scoreable information from SMEs. 

The Value of Debriefings – When You Lose

The Contracting Officer has just sent you the bad news – you were not selected for award. You get your team together to give them this news and you still try to give them the feeling they have done a great job. But, they start to ask, ”what did we miss?” “what segment/section was not compelling enough?”, “we couldn’t have been vague, we went through the Red Team and recovery process exhaustively”, “how could the government have scored the competition higher than us?”, “was our price too high?” These are questions that require specific answers. You turn your mind to trying to give open, honest answers, but you know you need more information. Continue reading “The Value of Debriefings – When You Lose” »

CPARS Evaluations

CPARS Evaluations

CPARS evaluations are a critical component of government-contractor communications. When properly utilized they can provide timely feedback on contractor performance, share performance evaluations among government agencies and elevate and resolve lingering issues. Continue reading “CPARS Evaluations” »

The Value of Debriefings – for Winning Teams

The Value of Debriefings – for Winning Teams

So you’ve just won that $500M Single Award Task Order Contract. Your team is celebrating, and rightly so, and you’re preparing for the kick-off meeting.

The furthest thing from your mind is asking for a debriefing. Why bother … you won! Debriefings are for the losers.

Or are they?

In truth – you need a debriefing when you win just as much as when you don’t. Continue reading “The Value of Debriefings – for Winning Teams” »

Put It In Writing

Put it in writing

Sooner or later, all Government Contractors will be faced with a situation like one of these:

  • Your government client wants you to do something you consider out of scope
  • You’re under contract and come across a circumstance you didn’t anticipate and need to deviate from the scope of work
  • Your bid / proposal made assumptions that you later determined to be incorrect and you find out after award

Continue reading “Put It In Writing” »

Government Contracting: A Matter of Trust

I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot lately. Trust is important in every aspect of our lives – we need, and often do, implicitly trust our spouses/significant others, our friends and our family. Without trust, we simply cannot function.

Trust is an essential element in any successful relationship. It is no different in business. Continue reading “Government Contracting: A Matter of Trust” »