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  1. Past hour
  2. Agreed! I'm still skeptical on this, we dealt with these folks back in the day. It means a lot that you vouch for cubicles, Joel, so I took mine out of the catapult. For now.
  3. I understand, Don. It seems the "even swaps" method would work better using rankings as the HBR article states. I like the ranking or scaling method for this approach. However, I know a lot of contracts managers are averse to the idea of ranking. Why do you think this is? Perhaps it is equated with numeric scoring, which has become a bit of an anathema. For example, no one wants to explain to the GAO why an offeror lost to an awardee by a single point. It seems to me we rank offerors regardless as evaluators and selection authorities, if in no other way, in our minds as we are performing the evaluation. The question is whether we document it as part of the file, making it something subject to discovery. If we don't rank, then we have to document our evaluation narratively, which some might consider a more difficult exercise, leading to something less definitive and more abstract. No. Some contracts managers believe that we have to document risks and benefits as part of every evaluation, something pushed by our attorneys, as well. Are the attorneys at your agency encouraged to attend these seminars? I appreciate the innovation lab and the work it does. Unfortunately, I think the continued aversion to risk and unwillingness to adopt the techniques the lab suggests still emanate from the torso down. Some view the concept of innovation as the innovation lab having provided them with a finite list of techniques. FAR 16.5's use of the term, "broad discretion," allows for much more, i.e., the lab is but a starting point and does not preclude the application of further innovation and other techniques not therein described. A division will adopt an innovative approach, but then becomes reliant on only that one approach. Contracts managers become unwilling to flex and further adapt that approach. Program offices become lazy, recycling the same evaluation method time and again as if it is a one-size fits all approach to selection. It can be rather stressful for the thinkers and creative types in the 1102 community who do not want to be relegated to factory work. Those for whom employee retention is a concern somehow remain baffled over the attrition rates. The question for the practitioner is whether it is better around the bend.
  4. Cubicles are a big step above open plan and are MUCH more adaptable and less expensive than to add/delete/move hard wall offices. Even nicer, We once built a 3 Star Army HQ facility with demountable full height wall partitions for individual offices, capable of being adapted on 5 or 10 foot grids. The areas had raised floors with adaptable underfloor comm and electrical, etc. With the typical, frequent reorganizations and functional changes for DoD administrative offices, it was a great solution. Higher first cost but lowest life cycle cost. i highly recommend this approach, especially for Air Force facilities, which would usually change after contract award, during construction at least once. Delays and impact cost growth frequent and common on almost every project. Air Force plays “musical Commanders”. They come and go, with no accountability for decisions made by the previous bosses.
  5. Not sure if there is still a argument about whether the fair opportunity notice is or isn’t what is used in MATOC ordering procedures instead of a “solicitation” to request a task order proposal. Per ji and according to the above, contract holders would respond to a “notice” . There is no need to use a “solicitation” in addition to or instead of the “notice”. When introducing the term “solicitation” in task ordering procedures, we start getting into questions concerning what FAR says must be included in a ”solicitation.” I suspect that using notice, not solicitation was deliberate for reasons such as that. That is supposed to be done in the original solicitation for the Base MultipleAward IDIQ contract . You dont repeat including the same provisions and clauses during the task ordering procedures. You might refer to a clause in the contract but don’t repeat inclusion of the clause. i thought ji’s explanation concerning the bankruptcy clause was pretty straightforward and clear too. “Carl, - If an IDIQ contract’s maximum amount exceeds the SAT, that contract will include the Bankruptcy clause and that clause will be applicable to all orders against that contract. - If an IDIQ contract’s maximum amount is under the SAT, the Bankruptcy clause is not prescribed. By definition, all orders will be under the SAT and an order over the SAT is impossible. In my practice, a delivery or task order over the SAT will not include the Bankruptcy clause. That clause is already in the parent contract and need not be repeated in either the fair opportunity notice or the resulting order. It is not necessary and is poor practice IMHO to repeat every clause from the parent contract in the notice and the order.” I don’t have access to my pre-FARA/FASA FAR books today . I’m curios what the ordering process said prior to the introduction of the terms “fair opportunity” and “notice” Will do some further study.
  6. Today
  7. It probably helped his case that cubicles are expensive and the vendors kill you on relocations and reconfigurations for years afterward too. I think they were invented to reduce the possibility of heavy petting (ahem!) at work. Only a theory!
  8. l have been criticized twice for that post. One guy said I was needlessly making things too complicated. (" Quit trying to over complicate this. Common sense.") Now you say I was "unfair." The author asked you whether it would be wrong to omit a clause from a fair opportunity notice. Later, in different posts, the author gave different reasons for omitting the clause---not conjoint, not alternative, just different. First, it was because a notice is not a solicitation. Later, it was because the clause is already in the contract. I was confused, and so I thought I'd point out the apparent contradiction so the author could explain. I did not say the author was wrong, and I did not criticize. I thought I just didn't understand, that others might not understand, and that the author could sort things out. Then two of you come after me for that. Social media madness!
  9. I think your post is unfair. The author's two posts were made eight hours apart.
  10. Yesterday
  11. Not surprised you like it--aren't you one of the PIL team members? In any case, I didn't say I didn't like it. It's just someone who wrote this in another thread: A pedant like that might take issue with your document.
  12. Do you think you can't do "immediate comparisons" when conducting a source selection under FAR Subpart 15.3?
  13. Most people at a prior job worked in open areas but there were a few offices. There was always lobbying over who got the offices. Then we had a major expansion and office renovation. Fortunately my boss was in charge of agency facilities and understood procurement. Just about everyone got a private office after the renovation. But the lobbying and jockeying for offices didn’t stop - only a few got windows so that became the next controversy.
  14. I actually like the construction — it combines both “notice” which is what it really is/what the FAR calls it and “solicitation” which is what some people think of it as when they’re in a hurry, so everyone is happy and no one is offended. It helps reinforce correct principles, and is a good compromise for a document where the purpose is meaningful learning rather than pedantry.
  15. From p. 14 T/F table titled "Fair Opportunity/Orders Under Multiple-Award Contracts" Some people would call that sloppy.
  16. https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/pil_boot_camp_workbook.pdf Technique 5 in the DHS Procurement Innovation Lab Boot Camp Workbook (link above) is on comparative evaluation -- and Technique 4 is on down-select. You can do a down-select on a single non-price factor (or a couple of non-price factors), and you can make your down-select decision on a comparative evaluation basis (no adjectival ratings). One of the key messages from the DHS procurement innovation community is to "stay in your lane" and to keep FAR subpart 15.3 procedures out of your fair opportunity considerations. DHS is also encouraging streamlined evaluation and selection documentation, and has won GAO bid protest decisions where unsuccessful offerors say the evaluation and selection documentation are too short.
  17. I've had both the positive and negative results with telework. I was a director of a contracting activity that went to 4-days a week telework. I then went to an agency where teleworking was more limited. Here are some of the pluses and minuses from my experience. Plus - Productivity increased dramatically. No lost time BS'ing around the office about who won the game or who got voted off Survivor. People were better able to focus on their projects. Made evaluations based on performance so no real issues there (just because you see a butt in the seat doesn't mean they're working). Sick leave usage dropped. How many times have you been too sick to get dressed up and drive into the office but not too sick to be productive? This way you can stay in your jammies and still get work cranked out. Minus - No opportunity to learn from others' experiences. The amount of knowledge that can be gained by hearing others talk about an issue you are also facing is immense. Also, no chance to build/shape an organizational culture which is often vital when trying to implement change. Tough to integrate new employees into the workforce.
  18. Maybe the clause doesn't apply since you are using the cell phones for your own purposes under your own contract, are not delivering the cell phones for use by the agency or by other agency contractors. Is para. (a)(4) your out?
  19. I hope we can all agree that open offices and cubicles are bad. I've never had a proper office at work, it just struck me that I'd actually be able to concentrate here if I had a door I could actually close.
  20. Hello all, My organization is looking at pursuing a contract opportunity with USAID. The solicitation has been released and it includes LIMITATION ON ACQUISITION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (DEVIATION NOs. M/OAA-DEV-FAR-18-2c and M/OAA-DEV-AIDAR-18-2c) (APRIL 2018) in Section H. Generally speaking, this clause does not cause concern for my org as our IT purchases tend to be incidental to the contract. In this case, we are considering purchasing a significant number of cell phones (~5,000) to use for data collection and program quality monitoring. My read of the clause is that we would be required to submit a request for approval as detailed in the clause, most likely as part of our proposal submission or at least concurrently. I'm curious how others read this clause and/or have responded to the pre-approval requirements. Appreciate any inputs that you all have. Full clause is below. (a) Definitions. As used in this contract -- “Information Technology” means (1) Any services or equipment, or interconnected system(s) or subsystem(s) of equipment, that are used in the automatic acquisition, storage, analysis, evaluation, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information by the agency; where (2) such services or equipment are ' used by an agency' if used by the agency directly or if used by a contractor under a contract with the agency that requires either use of the services or equipment or requires use of the services or equipment to a significant extent in the performance of a service or the furnishing of a product. (3) The term " information technology" includes computers, ancillary equipment (including imaging peripherals, input, output, and storage devices necessary for security and surveillance), peripheral equipment designed to be controlled by the central processing unit of a computer, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including provisioned services such as cloud computing and support services that support any point of the lifecycle of the equipment or service), and related resources. (4) The term "information technology" does not include any equipment that is acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract that does not require use of the equipment. (b) The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) requires Agency Chief Information Officer (CIO) review and approval of contracts that include information technology or information technology services. 81 (c) The Contractor must not acquire information technology as defined in this clause without the prior written approval by the contracting officer as specified in this clause. (d) Request for Approval Requirements: Clauses and Special Contract Requirements for Facilities Access, Security, and Information Technology (IT) (Class Deviations M/OAA-DEV-FAR-18-2c, and M/OAA-DEV-AIDAR-18-2c)8 (1) If the Contractor determines that any information technology will be necessary to meet the Government’s requirements or to facilitate activities in the Government’s statement of work, the Contractor must request prior written approval from the Contracting Officer. (2) As part of the request, the Contractor must provide the Contracting Officer a description and an estimate of the total cost of the information technology equipment, software, or services to be procured under this contract. The Contractor must simultaneously notify the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) and the Office of the Chief Information Office at ITAuthorization@usaid.gov. (e) The Contracting Officer will provide written approval to the Contractor through modification to the contract expressly specifying the information technology equipment, software, or services approved for purchase by the COR and the Agency CIO. The Contracting Officer will include the applicable clauses and special contract requirements in the modification. (f) Except as specified in the contracting officer’s written approval, the Government is not obligated to reimburse the Contractor for any costs incurred for information technology as defined in this clause. (g) The Contractor must insert the substance of this clause, including this paragraph (g), in all subcontracts.
  21. My personal experience with telework (as a non-Fed) has generally been positive. As previously noted above, I find it much easier to concentrate at home rather than in the shared office/hoteling situation I was in at my last job. I never knew who I was going to be sitting with and it was a real crapshoot. Some folks were fine, others would spend all day on the personal phone calls. My current work situation is a more or less "open" office plan, which I am not a fan of. I am lucky insofar as the folks that sit around me are pretty quiet, but there is no way to have a discussion, in person or on the phone, without disturbing those around you. Needless to say, conference rooms are in high demand around here. Collaboration can also be an issue, but there are plenty of options out there to bridge that gap. Microsoft Teams, Adobe Connect, Skype for Business and many other IT solutions offer you the ability to see and talk to your colleagues no matter where they are sitting. It is mostly about you and your organization making collaboration a priority and then enforcing it. I worked from home full time for about 6 months and then approximately once a week since then (going on 7 years now) and it seems to me that it all comes down to the individual and their management. Work flexibility shouldn't be a given, you should have to prove to your supervisor that you can handle it. My last two jobs had a 6 month no work from home policy followed by managers discretion and in both cases I proved to my supervisors that I could be trusted. When pinged on IM, I answer right away. They never receive complaints from the teams I support, because I do my job when I work from home, along with some laundry . At this point, I work from home when I need/want to. I generally keep it to no more than once a week because I both value and require time in the office in order to do my job well. Several of my colleagues work remote full time and, generally speaking, they are top notch. It certainly won't work for every position or every person, but it's a low cost benefit to provide that most people appreciate and use wisely.
  22. An example of don't bite the hand that feeds you.
  23. I accept. Like a lot of the FAR, this is clear as mud but it covers the ground.
  24. Retread: That pamphlet deals only with GAO's relationship with its meal-provider, Congress. It was first written in 2000 after GAO received its 1/3 cut in personnel. During that time, GAO was being jerked to attention by Congress. That pamphlet is one clear example of GAO trying to make amends with Congress and setting down on paper how it handled requests. What is in there deals only with Congress and GAO, no-one else.
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