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Fear & Loathing in Contracting

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About Fear & Loathing in Contracting

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  1. Increasing Rights in Software--> In-scope Change?

    Clarification: The contractor would have agreed at the time of the original award to provide the increased rights, but the price would have been much higher. The customer business decision balanced the price (at the time) against identified benefits and made the business decision not to purchase the increase rights.
  2. Increasing Rights in Software--> In-scope Change?

    There are multiple software and data rights clauses on the prime contracting including DFARS 252.227-7013, 252.227-7014, 252.227-7015, & 252.227-7027. I have been particularly focused on DFARS 252.227-7014(b)(4) "...may be modified by mutual agreement.." How though does this solve the scope issue?
  3. Increasing Rights in Software--> In-scope Change?

    The following scenario pertains to a major system that is in the final stages of a "smart" shutdown and its related primary development contract. The original large sole source contract was awarded 3 years ago. A critical system component is a piece of software that the contractor asserted as exclusively developed with IR&D funding and having Restricted Rights. At the time, the Government made the business decision to accept the software with these rights. Since then, the program has been placed under Smart Shutdown and the contractor and PM have had some conversations on purchasing the sofware with Unlimited Rights (for future spin-off systems use). The cost to the Government for these improved rights is about 10% of what had been roughly quoted back at the time of original contract award. The projected "purchase" price of these increased rights is about 2/10th's of a percent of the overall contract amount. Bottom Line Question: Can these rights be increased through the use of an in-scope contract modification? Would this supplemental agreement be within the scope of the original contract? Additional Key Factor: We are running out of time on this shutdown system (we are in fact on borrowed time). I am being told that I will "probably" need to do this as an out-of-scope mod, thus will require a J&A, etc... all time killers. Are they correct? What is the point??? This change will not change the function of the system (in it's remaining days), the dollar magnitude is negligible, this is the only time anything like this was done under this contract (so no cumulative impact), and it does nothing to increase the complexity of the contract. Lastly, whatever the rights were at original contract award- there would have been no impact on competition as this was sole sourced.
  4. RFI ... Evaluations and ... Down-Selects? Huh?

    The term "embryonic requirement" was probably not the best choice of words. I meant to convey that it is very early in the source selection process. The requirement is actually "moderately mature." It is for a configurable software solution that serves to integrate/coordinate/co-configure capabilities across a family of systems. Most of the family member systems are either in the last steps of development or sustainment. Even "moderately mature" is a bit of a loaded term. The PM group (who is driving this RFI) has been designated as the "Trail Boss" leading all the systems groups that need to be pulled under this system-of-systems requirement. So one can imagine with all these competing pressures- they are having their challenges. Thanks for all the great input everyone. It is very helpful and appreciated.
  5. RFI ... Evaluations and ... Down-Selects? Huh?

    RFI. It basically asks about whether your SW can do X, Y, Z, etc... and then asks to elaborate on certain aspects of the SW. Responders submit a white paper & fill out a supplied grid chart. RFI has since closed and there were more than a dozen respondents. Customer now wants to "evaluate" the responses and "down-select" to no more than 3. These 3 will be invited into a lab setting to demo their SW. Based on lab results, observations, SW performance capabilities/limits, etc... the customer will then use this info to help flush out/adjust the requirement.
  6. RFI ... Evaluations and ... Down-Selects? Huh?

    I am a DoD KO serving a major system customer. They've been living in large sole source world since before the dawn of time. After several years of prodding, they have finally started wading into the land of competitive source selections. Well, long story short, we issued an RFI for a somewhat embryonic requirement, it is about to close, and it looks like we will be getting anywhere from 6-12 responses. Then tacked onto the end of a multi-topic customer e-mail, was something to effect of: once the RFI closes we will then "evaluate the responses", and then "perform a down-select to the best 3," and then "invite those 3 winners in to do demo's." At this point I just sat there staring at the screen... Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?
  7. Field Testing as part of Source Selection

    Thank you VERY much Vern. All of the above is extremely helpful, especially the process guidance such as this: And even more so this: I am looking through the GAO cases right now, and I can already tell they will also be quite useful. When you ask what questions/information I am looking for- it is just this sort of thing. Essentially, I am trying to get my arms around the process and get a bit more focused on the thinking part. As strange as it sounds, I have had challenges finding others near me who have ever incorporated a system verification component into the source selection process. At least where I am, the large systems world is dominated by a combination of enormous MATO vehicles (with plug and play cookie cutter task order processes) and large sole source contracts. We have also been subjected to perpetual turnover, which of course makes it much harder to obtain peer support.
  8. Field Testing as part of Source Selection

    Correct. Offerors would set-up & connect into the system. Certain parameters & attributes would be quantified. The biggest challenges are: (1) the systems high performance sensitivity to environmental factors; (2) relatively tight award target; (3) rolled up nature of the system. It is being formed from multiple smaller systems that were originally sole sourced awards- so in a way there are two semi-"incumbents" likely to be the main competitors. Lastly, the customer has dwelled in sole source land for a very long time and this is one of their first major forays (commendable/we've been urging them...) into the competitive environment.
  9. Field Testing as part of Source Selection

    I am a contracting officer assisting in the planning of a source selection for an ACAT system. As part of the source selection process, the customer is adamant about including significant field testing as part of the evaluation process. The system is highly sensitive in that just about everything could affect its performance including weather, time of day, harsh language, etc. As to be expected, everyone on my end, especially legal, is worried about risk of a protest from the losing offeror. Any ideas, useful guidance, prior examples... anything would be helpful and appreciated.
  10. OMB to GAO: Get lost!

    All I can say is... it is about time OMB finally pushed back GAO. Better late than never.
  11. Market Research announcements

    Never heard of having to do such as thing and I have never done it.
  12. FAR and Innovation

    Quote: "Most COs, however, look at the FAR as a framework that is perscriptive, which is as it should be when applicable, but limits the ability for COs to look at problems differently and look for different ways to address them." When you take into consideration the sheer size and complexity of the FAR and its supplements- in order to function as a contract specialist one has to essentially live in this mental framework. Adding one little drop of drop of innovation (FAR 1.102-4(e)) into this sea of presciptive behavior has little effect.
  13. Happy Birthday, Bob!

    Happy Birthday Bob- you run a truly essential site.