Discussion

In this special rebroadcast of one of the most popular early episodes, Kevin and Paul explain what Contracting Officers do.  They define the role of the CO and provide detail on how they are appointed. They also describe the different types of contracting officersand why there are so many different names for a contracting officer.

For more information and deeper insight, join the Skyway Connection Community and get access to one-on-one insights, time-saving tools, and CO-centric training resources to be ready to take advantage of opportunities each time they knock.

The Skyway Connection© Community was created specifically to help small companies expand their knowledge and capabilities, and to increase their competitive position in federal government acquisitions.

Learn more at: https://skywayacquisition.com/connect

Membership benefits include:

  • Access to Skyway Insight© Webinars
  • Unlimited access to The RFP Score™
  • Access to Ask a Contracting Officer Forum™
  • Priority Access to Skyway Team for Skyway Insight, capture, proposal support

In this special episode, Kevin and Paul explain the “connection” between the Contracting Officer Podcast, The Skyway Connection Community, and Skyway Acquisition Solutions.

If you’re wondering what we’re talking about when we mention the Connection or Skyway during a podcast, this episode is for you.

  • The Contracting Officer Podcast (free)
    • Make Government contracting better, one contract at a time by helping Industry and Government understand each other just a little better
    • contractingofficerpodcast.com
  • The Skyway Connection Community (subscription)
    • A training, education, and information forum to go deeper than the podcast to help you learn the “how” of Government contracting. We createdthe Skyway Connection© to help companies expand their knowledge and capabilities and to make them more competitive.
    • Membership benefits include:

Premium blog content

Skyway Insight© Webinars

The RFP Score™

The Ask a Contracting Officer Forum™

The Skyway Resource Library, and

Priority Access to the Skyway Team for Skyway Insight, capture, proposal support

 

  • Skyway Acquisition Solutions (one-on-one support)
    • Access to a team of former contracting officers to help youfind, compete for, winand execute Government contracts
    • skywayacquisition.com

 

Are Sole Source Awards Easier?  In this episode Kevin and Paul debate this listener question. A Contracting Officer (and listener!) took issue with a comment from a previous episode regarding sole source contracts and provided not only a great idea but encouragement for us to expand on this topic. As a result we give you some context for the decisions that need to be made before a sole source award is considered and debate the pros and cons of sole source awards, both before and after award.  As always, both Government and Industry perspectives are presented.

For more information and deeper insight, join the Skyway Connection© Community and get access to one-on-one insights, time-saving tools, and CO-centric training resources to be ready to take advantage of opportunities each time they knock.

The Skyway Connection© Community was created specifically to help small companies expand their knowledge and capabilities, and to increase their competitive position in federal government acquisitions.

– Learn more at: https://skywayacquisition.com/connect

Membership benefits include:

Access to Skyway Insight© Webinars

Unlimited access to The RFP Score™

Access to Ask a Contracting Officer Forum™

Priority Access to Skyway Team for Skyway Insight, capture, proposal support

In Part 2 of this special episode, Kevin and Paul continue their conversation about proposals with Vicky Strycharske, Senior Proposal Manager at Skyway Acquisition Solutions.  This is another “what I wish I knew”episode that covers nuances of the RFP and proposal writing process that weren’t apparent until we wrote many, many RFPs and submitted many, many proposals!  This episode provides helpful tips for both Government and Industry as they go through the RFP and proposal process.

In this special episode, Kevin and Paul discuss proposals with Vicky Strycharske, Senior Proposal Manager at Skyway Acquisition Solutions.  This is another “what I wish I knew” episode that covers nuances of the RFP and proposal writing process that weren’t apparent until we wrote many, many RFPs and submitted many, many proposals!  This episode provides helpful tips for both Government and Industry as they go through the RFP and proposal process.

In this episode Kevin and Paul describe one step of the Government’s source selection process, Competitive Range Determinations. They explain the purpose of competitive range determinations, when the determination takes place, and why the Government would limit the competitive range during a source selection.  As always, learn why both Industry and the Government should care about this useful tool in the Government’s acquisition toolbox.

In this episode Kevin and Paul discuss the balance that both industry and the Government must consider as they plan how best to meet a requirement. Industry must decide whether or not outside vendors, suppliers, or subcontractors will be needed to meet the requirements of a Government solicitation. The Government must consider whether a particular requirement can be met solely by small businesses. Open communication between Government and Industry can help find the sweet spot between building the most efficient team and meeting regulations for small business utilization.

Zone 2, 3, 4

Part 2 of our interview with Michael Fischetti, Executive Director of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).Part 1 focused on the training and education that contracts professionals receive, including questions of “depth or breadth” in the education of a CO and “specialist vs. generalist” in building your career. In this Part 2 we explore “non-FAR” based training and education opportunities and discuss the merits of spending time in both Government and industry.

Zoneless

A big welcome to our first guest on the Contracting Officer Podcast.   Michael Fischetti, Executive Director of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), stopped by the official CO Podcast studio to discuss professionalism in contracting.  This episode covered so much ground that we decided to make it a two-parter.

In Part 1 we focus on training and education.  Kevin and Paul trade viewpoints with Michael and discuss what kinds of training contracts professionals receive, what kinds of training they SHOULD receive, how changing demographics impacts consumption of training, and ponder the questions of “depth or breadth” and“specialist vs. generalist”  in the education of a CO.

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

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.

Zone 4

Want to learn how to negotiate with your government customer? Check out Podcast 022: What are… Click To Tweet

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.

Zone:                          Zoneless

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.

Zone 2

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)