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Everything posted by Motorcity

  1. Yep, this could be a contract writing system issue. Most systems have a feature than allows for the easy creation or generation of a TOC within the RFP. In Momentum, all it takes is a few minor formatting steps, and the document is created with a TOC. Some offices still build their docs in Word, manually, which is mind-boggling to say the least.
  2. I’m curious to see how posters on WIFCON view procurement organizations being organized by specific spend categories. For example, a procurement organization within a larger agency might have a team that procures nothing but IT hardware. The organization may then have another team that procures absolutely nothing but software. There may be other branches handling vehicles, professional staffing, and so on. Each branch/team specializes in one specific type of segment with little wiggle room. I bring this up because a friend just joined an organization that recently reorganized itself into teams focusing on specific categories. Apparently, the transition/restructuring isn’t working out for this particular organization. Client offices are complaining about having to deal with multiple people, rather than their trusted 1102s that they've spent years working with. It appears that the human element has all but disappeared between the client offices and this particular procurement organization. My friend literally works on nothing but IT hardware requirements with very little client input. I have only worked at agencies that were organized by customer offices that required a variety of goods and services. Usually, my portfolio/workload would contain various types of services, various IT requirements, supplies, and a number of other segments. Basically, my portfolio, regardless of agency, was always diverse with an array of segments. I was never focused on one thing. Matter of fact, I really only recall colleagues covering AE/CON being sort of sectored off and away from all the other action. Other than that, most portfolios were quite diverse. I can see how having a team that specializes in the procurement of a specific category can lead to the development of a deep knowledge of that specific segment. I would think that most of the folks on those teams would eventually become SMEs of sorts within that particular segment. The procurement actions would centralized in a way for each category. On the flip side, it seems that it would be difficult to rotate or move around the organization if you only have experience focusing on one sort of service or product. This model doesn't appear to help one grow in their career. It seems to be a very one-dimensional approach. In your mind, what are the advantages and disadvantages of organizations being organized strictly by specific spend categories? Does client service suffer? Does it affect recruiting? Morale? Is knowledge lost?
  3. I think gov HR "experts" should focus on why it is so difficult to recruit younger folks to the government. A follow-up question should focus on why the government cannot seem to retain younger folks if/when they are hired. Now that we have a new norm regarding remote work, has an opportunity been presented to hiring officials to better recruit the best and brightest under 30? I have seen far too many bright younger fed employees stay onboard for maybe 3 or 4 years, only to jump ship to the private sector for more flexibility and better pay. Those people are probably never coming back to the government.
  4. Many good ideas here. We are definitely looking at many different segments, including PALT, 1102 performance plans, and also comparing with other agencies. It is accurate an statement with regard to the document ending up in a drawer somewhere that gets updated every nine years. The big thing here is that the client office pays a hefty fee for procurement-related services and isn't exactly thrilled about our performance in several areas (notably, customer service). The big challenge here is that the program office is seeking input from across the board, so multiple divisions are going to have an opinion.
  5. I am curious to learn more about Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in the federal procurement arena. My procurement shop is working on an SLA with a large and well-funded client office. I understand that the planned SLA will generally set forth a timeframe and process for various procurement actions. The existing SLA is quite dated and doesn't quite match the needs of the organization in its current state. Customer service has been the main sticking point between the two organizations for years. The client office has complained for years about slow response times and lack of "buy in" from various 1102s. Has anyone ever worked on or drafted an SLA between a procurement team and a client before? If so, what was your experience? What was the outcome?
  6. Yes, the Q/A review process needs to be changed for sure. I suppose it depends on the agency, but it's definitely a hindrance that slows the process down. That said, having more independent COs can only be a good thing as long as they understand the mission. Many of our COs have all the certifications and knowledge, yet they don't invest the time and effort to understand the mission of their client.
  7. It appears not, but I am still going through the file. It appears that several contract employees left the requirement and the program office couldn't decide on whether or not they had a need for replacing those individuals.
  8. No problem, but we were curious because the setup isn't common. Had to have been a major pain when option exercise time rolled around and each CLIN needs to be funded with a different pot of funding.
  9. My teammates are going through a few older 8(a) ANC direct award task orders for professional services. One of the orders ended quite a while ago, but we noticed a few interesting things. Mainly, that several CLINs were left unfilled on the task order, but they weren't taken off via partial termination for convenience. It appears that a CLIN was created for each labor category (and each CLIN was funded from a different pot of money as well).Seems that our picky (and powerful) program office couldn't decide whether to keep the positions, or remove them altogether. Looks like the now-retired CO left the positions on the requirement, but didn't fund (or even fill) them. Has anyone ever had this happen on a labor hour requirement before? Have you seen positions remain on the requirement, yet go unfunded/unfilled due to program/client issues?
  10. Another thing I learned is that librarians are processing direct transfers for FEDLINK subscriptions/products I understand that the process happens like this...the program office will send the money to their agency's library team. From there, the library team transfers the funds directly to the selected vendor. I think some sort of IAA needs to be set up between the agency and the vendor for these types of fast transfers, which can be much more streamlined than processing orders via a CO.
  11. Yes, I have read the link, plus all related information regarding FEDLINK going back years. It appears that FEDLINK has five separate contract categories (Books, Foreign Language, Electronic Resources, Preservation, and Serials). It appears that requirements within the Foreign Language segment need to be competed, as stated on their website. Legal stated that we don't need to be doing a FAR 16.505 justification, as FEDLINK is established by statute (2 USC 182c), and the statute authorizes agencies to purchase directly through FEDLINK. Other COs I know at other agencies have received similar guidance. The challenge here is that the LOC team is not very responsive or customer-oriented.
  12. I heard that some people are putting FAR 16 Justifications into their files, but I'm not so sure if that is even necesary. It appears that these are not multiple-award IDIQs, but really just a group of standalone single-award IDIQ contracts. it also appears that each base IDIQ contract was awarded with a JA.
  13. Has anyone ever processed orders off of any of the LOC’s FEDLINK IDIQS? Looks like the LOC has awarded numerous sole source single-award IDIQs for various database subscriptions, which can then be used by any agency. If we were to process an order, would we even need a sole source justification at the order level if one was already drafted at the base IDIQ level? This option is rather new to our office, but seems almost too easy, unless we are missing something. FEDLINK.
  14. I believe there a few contractors serving in highly-specialized professional staffing roles that aren’t considered to be inherently governmental. I don’t believe the companies they work for would even be able to compete on any future requirement related to the demos.
  15. I moved over to the IT program side a number of years ago. The new West Coast office I’ve been assigned to conducts a massive amount of market research year round with sources sought notices, RFIs, conferences, and demos. Previously, the program office had a penchant for almost trying to evaluate or down-select a vendor during the market research phase. The biggest thing I recall from my 1102 days at my old agency was that there was a policy in place where third-party contractors couldn’t even attend product demos. The new agency doesn’t appear to have a policy, but I don’t even recall TPCs being present at vendor demos. This team has a huge number of TPCs - is it allowable for a TPCS to attend a product demo? I assume that if so, they wouldn’t have to identify their contractor status. Perhaps posters could share their experience on conducting vendor demos and offer suggestions on what works and what doesn’t?
  16. I've used it a few times. One challenge is that you have to go through training in order to receive the Delegation of Procurement Authority (DPA) from the OASIS team. One other aspect is that you can issue direct awards on OASIS. The OASIS Ordering Guide states that the OASIS SB contract also authorizes the OASIS OCO to choose to issue a direct award to a HUBZone, SDVOSB, or 8(a) contract holder, as authorized by statute (see FAR 16.500(b) and 6.302-5(b)). Please follow specific FAR and Agency guidance in making direct awards.
  17. Jamaal, does your agency have research services or information professionals (librarians) that can be consulted? Usually, if I need something researched, i just email our internal library and they can usually find what I need. I know our library has several law librarians, so they are well-versed. I agree with Vern I that a person will have a great deal of difficult using rather complicated search tools and databases without proper training.
  18. CPARS as well. Seems like a large amount of my time is spent on reporting and administrative duties that take up a great deal of valuable time. What was the real reason for eliminating the 1105 series anyways?
  19. With regards to a written exam, who would be the grading authority? If DAU’s Ask a Professor is any sort of guide, it shows that everyone has an opinion. One professor may say one thing, while another professor may believe something else. Answers to written exams aren’t always clear cut. Then again, multiple choice exams seem to encourage rote learning/memorization, rather than critical thinking. Perhaps rather than having three levels of certification, would it be worth looking at having some form of certification for specific segments within the FAR? Perhaps a mandatory general certification followed by a specialist certificate in areas such as IT, construction, commercial, and simplified? The only reason I suggest “specialty areas” is because it seems like many people stay in the same area for long periods of time. Would that be too limiting? I can’t speak for everyone else, but most people in my shop have stayed within one general area (construction, for example) for their entire time in contracting. The folks in the construction branch couldn’t be of assistance during the end-year rush because none of them had ever worked on commercial and simplified buys. Should training focus more on specialized areas within the FAR?
  20. I wish that was true, but that hasn't been the case where I am. I came in under FCIP and had to go through annual rotations (4 managers in 5 years). Only one manager actually had the patience to train me in anything related to acquisitions.. I'm sure all my managers had the knowledge and experience, but they considered training to be a chore. On a related note, we have far too many people in managerial positions who have absolutely no business managing people. If you want to be a GS 14 or 15 and manage people, you better be all in.
  21. As someone who just completed all Level III training, I'd say we need better training. By "better" I mean that various set standards need to be followed in order to get the most out of the courses. I recall my CON 217 class was radically different than the 217 taken by a colleague a few months later. Some instructors require formal closed-book exams, while others allow open notes. Some instructors grade on presentations, while others grade on paper projects. I've also noticed a sharp difference between teaching styles at MCI, ESI, Gestalt, and NPI. Seems like these private vendors tailor their course content as they see fit. I mean, I am sure they have some guidelines, but how do we know for sure? Why not put "undercover" acquisition professionals/experts in these brick-and-mortar courses just to get their opinion. It sounds a bit paranoid, but might be worth a shot.
  22. A Management Concepts classmate mentioned the same exact thing with regard to the cradle-to-grave admin work. He had moved from the DoD to a smaller civilian agency and was blindsided the amount of administrative mods, de-obs, invoicing, and other nuances involved. He came from a large-scale program to the "minor leagues" and it was totally new. I'm at ba civilian agency and the cradle-to-grave type of work seems normal to me. I spend half my day dealing directly with program offices and other customers. I can't imagine not having direct contact with the requiring customer office.
  23. 1. What is your all time favorite book? Dodge Dynasty by Caroline Latham and David Agresta 2. What is your all time favorite song or album? Album: Tears for Fears: Tears Toll Down Greatest Hits 81-92 Song: Time by Pink Floyd 3. What is your all time favorite movie? Fletch 4. Who is your favorite poet? Edgar Guest
  24. I suppose I was inquiring about both, in a way. However, my agency is much smaller than the DoD, so the scale of the programs(s) is much smaller. I have found, however, that many of the COs become "subject matter experts" after being involved in a program for so long. The problem is that the Co becomes so valuable to the program (embedded or not) that if he or she leaves, the effect becomes detrimental to the program itself.
  25. I am trying to get everyone's opinion on being embedded versus being centralized in a contracting setting. You see, I currently work in a centralized acquisitions office with about 150 contracting personnel. Our office is known to have customer service issues in several areas, including response time and communication. Often times, the "customers" and 1102s never actually meet. The work is simply done via email and over the phone with little human interaction. My agency has a few specialized 1102s embedded with various program offices, but overall, we do most of the acquisitions from one geographic location. The good thing is that I am surrounded by experienced contracting personnel with a wealth of knowledge. The bad part about being centralized is that customer service declines rapidly. I have noticed that many 1102s tend to lose focus of the requirement(s). However, newcomers and interns seem to benefit from being in a large acquisitions office rather than being in a field office with little support. What has your experience been being embedded/centralized? What did you enjoy about being embedded with a program? What did you enjoy about being in a central contracting office?
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