In this episode Kevin and Paul discuss the cost of writing a proposal in response to a Government RFP. How much does it cost to write a proposal? What drivers can increase or decrease the cost? What can both Industry and Government do to decrease the time and expense involved in writing proposals? How does this benefit everyone? Episode 025 dives into these issues – and more!
Zone 3 – The RFP Zone
In this episode Kevin and Paul answer listeners’ questions. Specific topics are:
What is an Award Fee Contract?
What does “incremental funding” mean?
What is “Certified Cost and Pricing Data?
What is meant by the term “Commercial Acquisition” in the Government world?
What is a Protest? When Should I Protest? What Can I Protest? How Do I Submit a Protest? In this episode Kevin and Paul provide answers to these questions and more. The discussion goes far beyond the FAR (get it?) and provides listeners with examples of why submitting a formal protest to the Government is not always the best decision. Hear stories of real protests demonstrating how the process is viewed from the perspective of both the Government and Industry. Finally, Kevin and Paul share factors Industry should consider before making the decision to submit a protest.
Zone 4 – The Source Selection Zone
What are weighted guidelines? In this episode Kevin and Paul discuss the Government’s use of a structured approach to determine fair and reasonable profit during sole source negotiations. They explain what weighted guidelines are and give insight into why Industry should understand the Government’s profit calculation process.
How much communication between the Government and Industry is necessary prior to release of the RFP? In this episode Paul and Kevin the reasons why increased communications are critical to the Government acquisition process, leading to higher quality RFPs and proposals as well as more successful source selections.
Zone 2, The Market Research Zone
How much time does an offeror need to submit a proposal? How much time is not enough? How much time is too much? What is the contractor doing with that time? As contracting officers, we didn’t know the answers to these questions (or even to ask all of them sometimes). This cast explains both sides of the proposal response time question and how to find a balance between the extremes of too little and too much time.
Zone 2 and 3
What does “Color of Money” mean? This episode explains different types of appropriations and how they impact acquisitions and the Government’s behavior. Kevin and Paul give examples of why the color of money matters and what goes on behind the scenes in a Government acquisition as a result of the appropriation type. Learn why the Government cares about the color of money and why Industry should. Why is September 30th such a busy time for acquisition offices? Give this podcast a listen to find out.
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a Government source selection? In this episode Kevin and Paul provide a glimpse behind the curtain and answer a listener’s questions about the source selection process.
Specific topics are:
- Subjectivity in proposal scoring
- The value of past performance evaluations
- What does “significantly more important” mean?
- Can evaluations be revised to favor a particular contractor?
Zone 4 – The Source Selection Zone
J&A (Justification and Approval) is the common term used to describe the documentation required for a contracting officer to proceed with an acquisition using other than full and open competition. (also known as sole source contract) In this episode Kevin and Paul discuss when J&A’s are needed, the seven exceptions to full and open competition that the FAR allows, the content of a J&A, and who approves the J&A.
Targeting is a critical element of winning in the federal market. Poor targeting creates many of the problems we discuss on the Contracting Officer Podcast – from miscommunication between buyer and seller, to adversarial debriefs, and yes, even to protests. Regardless of where you sit in the federal buying and selling process, it is critical that you understand the importance of target-ing.
In this cast, we explain how to identify your Ideal Target Market by stitching together into the three elements that make up your Ideal Target Market: your Reachable Market, your Target Market and your Weight Class.
Zone 2 (Market Research) and Zone 3 (RFP Zone)
The last in a 4 part series describing the Acquisition Time Zones in greater detail. (see Episode 003 for an overview of the Time Zones) In this episode Kevin and Paul discuss what happens after industry submits their proposals in response to an RFP. Topics include the types of communication that are allowed between Government and industry during the evaluation process, what the Government team goes through in order to complete their evaluation and select a winner, and the importance of schedule to both industry and the Government.
Zone 4 – The Source Selection Zone
The third in a 4 part series describing the Acquisition Time Zones in greater detail. (see Episode 003 for an overview of the Time Zones) In this episode Kevin and Paul describe what information must be included in a Government Request for Proposals, what types of communications are allowed during this part of the acquisition process, and what really happens after the RFP is released on both the Government and Industry sides.
Zone 3 – RFP Zone
The second in a 4 part series describing the Acquisition Time Zones in greater detail. (see Episode 003 for an overview of the Time Zones) In this episode Kevin and Paul discuss the types of market research the Government uses and what Government and Industry are doing (or should be doing) during this phase of the acquisition cycle. As always, communication between Government and Industry is stressed to make the process faster and improve results. (and make it easier on everyone involved!)
Zone 2 – Market Research Zone
This is the first in a 4 part series describing the Acquisition Time Zones in greater detail. (see Episode 003 for an overview of the Time Zones) In this episode, Kevin and Paul describe how the Government creates and refines their requirements. The discussion covers real world examples of what the Government is doing (or should be doing) and what Industry is doing (or should be doing) during this phase of the acquisition process.
What is Section L? What is Section M? In this 2 part episode, Paul and Kevin explain how the Government provides proposal preparation and content instructions in Section L and provides the evaluation criteria that define how to win (or lose) the competition in Section M. Part 1 (Episode 010) focuses on describing “what” Section L and Section M are. In Part 2 the conversation strives to give deeper insight into “why” Section L and Section M are important.
Zone 3 – RFP Zone
What is Section L? What is Section M? In this 2 part episode, Paul and Kevin explain how the Government provides proposal preparation and content instructions in Section L and provides the evaluation criteria that define how to win (or lose) the competition in Section M. Part 1 (Episode 010) focuses on “what” Section L and Section M are and describes how their content can impact the Government and Industry. In Part 2 (Episode 011) the conversation gives further insight into “why” Section L and Section M are important.
Zone: Zone 3 – RFP Zone
What is the difference between a Firm Fixed Price contract and a Cost Reimbursable contract? If you’ve ever asked this question, this podcast is for you. We provide an overview of the 2 basic contract types used by the Government with examples of when they may be used and the risks each party assumes.
In this cast, we provide an overview of the Request for Information (RFI), the Draft Request for Proposals (DRFP) and the Request for Proposals (RFP). Contracting Officers use all of these in different ways and at different times for a variety of acquisitions. In this cast, we provide some insights from our experience on when and how to best use these tools. We also provide industry with some understanding of when they should, and should not, reply to each. This topic straddles the Market Research Zone and RFP Zone. Since we had a lot to cover, this session ran almost 30-minutes J.
Zone:Zone 2 and Zone 3
In this cast, we explain the basics of what Contracting Officers do. We define the role of the CO, along with some detail on how they are appointed. We also describe the different types of contracting officers along with some of our personal experience mixed in, of course. This cast has a bit more ‘in the weeds’ FAR language, but it should give you some context on what the CO does and why they do it. Enjoy! And please provide comments below after you listen.
One of the many unique elements of federal contracting is the Debriefing. In this cast, we continue our discussion on the nuances and lessons learned on the enigmatic debriefing. During Part 2, we cover some detailed examples of what we found that worked well and what did not work well from our experience. We also talk through some of the specific items to expect during a debriefing as both a CO and an offeror. While we didn’t cover every element of the debriefing, we hope we gave you a real head start on understanding this uniquely interesting topic. Enjoy!