If you work in the Government acquisition world, this podcast is for you.

This episode is brought to you by PROPRICER™, the #1 proposal pricing and cost analysis software used by federal agencies and small to large government contractors. Visit www.PROPRICER.com/podcast to learn more or request a demonstration. You’ll be glad you did!

Why is acquisition planning so important?  The GAO recently sustained a protest based on the agency’s failure to engage in reasonable advance planning.  You can read the details here:  https://skywayacquisition.com/skyway-co-insight/protest-sustained-due-to-agencys-failure-to-plan/

Kevin and Paul discuss why this could be huge for the Government acquisition world and why both Government acquisition offices and Industry should pay attention!  It seems that the GAO has had enough excuses and is going to hold program and contracting offices accountable for ensuring adequate advance planning is done.  Learn why this decision could be considered a good or bad development for you, whether you are the CO, the COR, the Government user, or Industry.

Listen and Learn… What is an RFI? What is a DRFP? What is an RFP?

In this special Encore episode, Kevin and Paul describe RFIs (Request for Information), DRFPs (Draft Request for Proposals) and RFPs (Request for Proposals) and explain why and when they are used.

For More Information and Deeper Insight...

Join the Skyway Connection© Community!

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

Listen and Learn… What is an Industry Day? What goals should the Government accomplish during the event? How should Industry prepare for an Industry Day?
Kevin and Paul describe what an Industry Day can be (and should be) and some common reasons why some Industry Days are less than effective. Learn why the Government should prepare for Industry Days with the end in mind and why Industry should attend for more than the continental breakfast.

For More Information and Deeper Insight...

Join the Skyway Connection© Community!

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

Listen and Learn… Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI) has become a very important issue for Government contractors as the Government’s perception of and sensitivity to OCI has changed over the last few years. Agencies have updated their policies regarding contractors who provide both support services and products/development.  Kevin and Paul explain OCI and how Government and Industry can avoid conflicts that complicate the acquisition process and subsequent contract performance.

Learn what an OCI is (and isn’t) and why it is important to tackle the issue early in the acquisition process.

For More Information and Deeper Insight...

Join the Skyway Connection© Community!

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

Incentive contracts are designed to help the Government acquire goods and services at a lower cost or with improved delivery or technical performance. These contracts provide the opportunity for creativity in crafting incentives and also great peril if the incen-tives aren’t perfectly aligned with the Government’s intent.

In this episode Kevin and Paul explain the basic types of incentives and provide examples of how they can help both the Government and Industry if used wisely. But look out….the law of unintend-ed consequences can be devastating if the delicate balance of cost, schedule, and performance is not considered with every incentive.

If you need help with the Government market, join the Skyway Connection Community and get access to one-on-one insights, time-saving tools, and contract-centric training resources that will make sure you’re ready to take advantage of opportunities each time they knock.

For More Information and Deeper Insight...

Join the Skyway Connection© Community!

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

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Selecting the most appropriate contract type is an important step in a successful acquisition. This decision is made at the very beginning of the process but can haunt both the Government and Industry throughout the life of the contract if the contract type doesn’t match the needs of the program.

Kevin and Paul discuss why the selection of contract type shouldn’t be taken lightly and give you insight into some of the problems you’ll encounter when contract type isn’t correctly aligned with the acquisition.

If you need help with the Government market, join the Skyway Connection Community and get access to one-on-one insights, time-saving tools, and contract-centric training resources that will make sure you’re ready to take advantage of opportunities each time they knock.

For More Information and Deeper Insight...

Join the Skyway Connection© Community!

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

You’ve heard of sealed bids?  How about Two-Step?  No, not a type of dance…

Two-Step Sealed bidding is a type of acquisition process that allows the Government to evaluate technical bids and request pricing from only those bidders who make the cut technically.  (it’s a little more complicated than that, but not much)

Kevin and Paul describe the bidding process and provide insight into why both the Government and Industry can benefit if used appropriately.

If you need help with the Government market, join the Skyway Connection Community and get access to one-on-one insights, time-saving tools, and contract-centric training resources that will make sure you’re ready to take advantage of opportunities each time they knock.

For More Information and Deeper Insight...

Join the Skyway Connection© Community!

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 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

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

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)

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

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

Ever wonder why it takes, or at least feels like it takes, so long to get an RFP out sometimes? In this session, we discuss what the government team is doing while contractors wait for the RFP to come out. We talk about schedule drives, mandatory reviews and approvals, documentation time, the relationship between the complexity of the requirement and that of the acquisition plan, and others. We share some of our experiences on why we took “so long” to get things done as COs. The requirement is the “what.”

Zone:Zone 1 and 2

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If you work in the Government acquisition world, this podcast is for you. (not just for Contracting Officers!)

Kevin and Paul provide an overview of the Acquisition Time Zones. The Acquisition Time Zones are a foundational concept of the podcast. Each zone aligns to a phase of the government acquisition process. The Acquisition Time Zones help our listeners understand how the content discussed in each podcast fits into the overall government acquisition process.

The Acquisition Time Zones are, in chronological order:

The Requirements Zone (Episode 012)

The Market Research Zone (Episode 013)

The Request for Proposal (or “RFP”) Zone (Episode 014)

The Source Selection Zone (Episode 015)

This episode provides a brief overview of each zone. The episodes above dive into the details of when the zones begin and end, what types of communication are allowed, and what government and industry professionals are doing (and thinking) during each zone.
__________

This episode is brought to you by Skyway Acquisition. To get help with the Government market, become a Skyway Community member. The Skyway Community ensures you are better positioned to take advantage of opportunities and better equipped to manage the challenges of government contracts. Members have access to one-on-one insights, time-saving tools, and training resources from Skyway’s team of former COs, including the ability to get the perspective of the entire team in the “Ask A Contracting Officer” Forum, get specialized training from on-demand webinars and articles, targeting support through the RFP Score™ assessment tool, as well as custom consulting from Skyway’s team of former COs who help solve your unique puzzles. To learn more, visit askskyway.com or call 877-884-5280.
___________

Kevin Jans and Paul Schauer created the Contracting Officer Podcast to help Government and Industry acquisition professionals understand more about how the other side thinks. Admittedly, the podcast’s name sounds very limiting. It is not just for contracting officers or even just for those in the contracting profession. Anyone with an interest in the Federal acquisition world can benefit from the insight and down-to-earth explanations of complicated topics provided by the hosts.

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Click Here to Read This Podcast Transcription

One often-overlooked difference between the federal market and the commercial market is that federal market sales are won more by process than by relationships. Contracting Officers (COs) cannot buy based on relationships alone. Relationships matter (see FAR Parts 3 and 9), but relationships are usually not the most important factor. The relationship is 20% of the decision. The other 80% is the competitive process.

Compare this to the commercial market. Here the ratio is reversed. Our relationship with a company is often 80%, or more, of our decision to buy from them. The other factors such as price and past performance do matter, but not nearly as much as our relationship with the seller. How did you selected your doctor, your homebuilder, your banker, your car dealer, your airline, your computer, your grocery store? Was the decision to buy from a particular company driven by relationships with friends, customers, or because you bought from them before? I bet so.

Understanding this Relationship-to-Process ratio in the government market is key to winning. The relationship you build with an agency, a program manager, or even a contracting officer will only get you so far (about 20%). You win in the other 80% (the competitive process). Even on existing contracts, regardless of how good the incumbent’s relationship is with the customer, the CO must eventually re-compete it.

Both relationships and process matter. Just be sure to get your ratio correct. You will win more often by aligning your time and resource around 80% process and 20% relationships.

Time Zone:2 & 3