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Matthew Fleharty

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Everything posted by Matthew Fleharty

  1. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    On the Government side, I certainly would for a few reasons: Philosophically, I think Contracting Officers should be objective arbiters of the process. Sure they must safeguard the interests of the United States and be good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars, but I often say that I've never read anywhere in the FAR a directive to "save as much money as possible" (particularly at another party's expense). Instead, the FAR says a CO's responsibility is to award contracts at fair and reasonable prices (which with lingering false assumptions can one accurately determine that amount?) and to conduct business with integrity, fairness, and openness. I think addressing the false assumption is behavior consistent with both of those charges. Negotiation wise, by raising that issue (assuming it isn't the only lingering one since the scenario does say "you've been going back and forth") I think you'll likely gain a considerable amount of credibility with the other party that could help propel what might be an intractable negotiation towards closure. Lastly, if not acted on, unexpressed assumptions inevitably rear their ugly heads during contract performance and that could have two implications: (1) the differing expectations during contract performance could jeopardize successful and smooth performance & (2) if it's apparent or becomes apparent that you knew about it and said nothing, that's going to damage the relationship (the implications of which have already been discussed enough on this thread). On the Contractor side, I'd like to say I would as well - hopefully, I'd be able to sell the positive long term benefits to my boss so that I could keep my job
  2. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    Vern made a comment on a different thread last week that I thought all contracting professionals should read and think about: "You don't get "guarantees" with contracts. You only get promises and there is no guarantee that you can enforce them, not even in court." One of the biggest problems with an acquisition system that takes to long is that it robs the Government of the ultimate incentive for good performance: future work. If we had an acquisition system that was fast, it would be easier for the Government to cut loose a poor performing contractor and move on to someone else - that would create a persistent incentive to perform well. Simplified acquisitions could have that, but everyone over-complicates them by executing FAR Part 15 Source Selections instead of using FAR 13.5 or (pertinent to this discussion) assuming that we need to evaluate technical proposals in order to make sure we get a competent contractor (which lengthens the acquisition planning and evaluation processes). It's unnecessary and it's created a vicious cycle that we can't break out of (because most of our training is OJT most people just do what was done last time and find reasons to explain why after the fact). Here's a challenge for you - try what Vern and I and others are advocating for just once and see what happens - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. And check your PMs.
  3. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    Well you're not convinced by Vern's framer example, so let's try this: There is an entire business segment dedicated to writing proposals for companies seeking Government contracts (Google "Government Contract Proposal Writing Services"). The information you're "evaluating" in the technical narratives may not even be from that company and yet you're relying on it to assess whether the contractor knows what they're doing... You should re-read FAR 9.104-1, there is a wealth of criteria there to consider when it comes to responsibility that a Contracting Officer can consider in order to avoid being bamboozled without needing a technical narrative: Keep SAP Simple.
  4. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    The problem with that approach is that you likely end up in what Vern's coined an "essay contest" because that "3-5 page blurb" probably contains zero promises. Useful evaluation factors are those that either evaluate the promises of an offeror or their capabilities. A "3-5 page blurb" of what an offeror could do is not a promise and does not demonstrate their capabilities (it only demonstrates what they think they are capable of...but most likely it merely parrots the SOW/PWS).
  5. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    There is a difference between deliberately pursuing a win-lose approach as one's objective end state and ending up in a win-lose situation because of naivety. I suppose that is the distinction I was trying to get at. I don't think that on average people behave in an exploitative manner - there are people and markets that do, but I think they are the exception, not the rule.
  6. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Thanks Vern. I understand that win-lose outcomes can and do occur - I made that comment to take exception to the characterization of positional bargaining as a situation where someone has the objective to pursue a win-lose outcome because I don’t think that generally people intentionally try to pursue such an outcome. @FrankJon clearly didn’t intend to say that and edited his post to remove that statement. EDIT: Maybe that scenario would make for a good topic in the new debate forums Bob created.
  7. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    @FrankJon I saw you edited your initial post about having an objective to reach a win-lose outcome - that was the language I took exception to (hence why I bolded it). I’m not going to chase a moving or non-existent target here.
  8. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    If losing is defined by a feeling, I'd posit that the losing feeling is likely the result of not properly understanding one's BATNA (if one did, they wouldn't feel like a loser after reaching a negotiated agreement). I stand by my point that absent coercion (or something similar) people do not generally enter into transactions that make them worse off.
  9. Matthew Fleharty

    Is Artificial Intelligence a Solution to Contracting Problems?

    Did the book just talk about AI's ability to compute/make decisions or did it also include any worthwhile discussions of AI's ability to learn? I'm more familiar with the former than the latter so if you give it a solid recommendation I'm going to put it on my reading list.
  10. Matthew Fleharty

    Evaluation Factors

    That's a great catch by Carl - if you are protested, you might be held to the more strict standards of FAR Part 15 instead of FAR Part 13. I won't rehash the issue here, but see Vern's second post on the following thread:
  11. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    It depends on what you define as "lose," but even with asymmetrical information or deception, absent coercion (or something similar), people do not generally enter into transactions that make them worse off. @PepeTheFrog and @FrankJon seem to define "lose" as getting even a marginally smaller portion of the pie or not as much of the pie as they should have under an environment with 100% transparency. I don't think that is a proper definition of "losing" in a negotiation.
  12. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Emphasis added: what is this "win-lose outcome" you speak of? Why would a party willingly enter into an exchange in which they lose (absent something coercing or compelling them to do so)?
  13. Matthew Fleharty

    Probability Problem #1

    25% or 20%?
  14. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    And apparently I'm the one who lives in Lala Land...
  15. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Strawman? Please - if anyone is guilty of using strawmen here it's you by (a) re-characterizing @here_2_help's clear statement that one should lie during negotiations and (b) trying to lump in issues like withholding information into my initial objection. If I mis-characterized your argument, I apologize, but as I stated in my previous post, yours was all over the place to begin with (clearly a slippery frog like yourself doesn't like being pinned down and was able to wiggle out). @here_2_helpdidn't point out that lies happen - he said he would willing do so and advised a member of this forum to make the argument regardless of whether or not it was true. Take a moment and re-read his post: That's not a case of "this is what happens in the real world so watch out." That's clearly "this is what I would do." So yes, this becomes a moral issue when a member of the forum is advising others to engage in outright deception. If you truly believe those that deceive others should pay a high price, so should those that encourage others to do it. So Pepe, show us you actually believe what you say and condemn what @here_2_help actually said...not what you mistranslated it into.
  16. Matthew Fleharty

    Probability Problem #1

    Mathematically: Probability of winning at agency: 20% Probability of winning at GAO conditional on losing at Agency: 20% * (1 - 20%) = 16% Probability of winning at COFC conditional on losing at Agency and GAO: 20% * (1 - 20% - 16%) = 12.8% Probability of winning at CAFC conditional on losing at Agency, GAO, and COFC: 20% * (1 - 20% - 16% - 12.8%) = 10.24% Combined probability of winning: 20% + 16% + 12.8% + 10.24% = 59.04%
  17. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    @here_2_help (I’m going to call it what it is now instead of this “misrepresentation of facts” because you’re using my kindness with language to pivot) Yesterday you advocated for outright misrepresenting facts lying about paying loan interest costs in order to win a negotiation on fee. This behavior you cite (and probably plenty you don’t cite) has clearly jaded you to the point where you think such behavior is permissible (others think it is strategically valuable). If that isn’t a case in point I don’t know what is. As for your examples, maybe #1 fits the bill of this discussion (and if #1 happened without any price paid for such a tactic then maybe these non-government officials aren’t as amazing as you allege); however, you’re stretching quite far on #2-4 (situations where we may not be dealing with facts or the facts are in dispute). Moreover, you’re not responding to the specific argument at hand. I never said all short term interests are outweighed by long term interests; my argument is specifically in regards to knowingly misrepresenting facts lying. You don’t seem inclined to engage in that discussion nor recant your previous recommendation and I won’t persist any further. I think such behavior by anyone, the Government or the contractor, is unethical, counter productive, and inexcusable.
  18. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Honestly, I don’t even know what your position is because you’re constantly hedging in your remarks...at one point you advocate for misrepresentation based on some realist view of negotiations, then you pivot to arguing that some forms of misrepresentation are improper by referring to a red line and stating “it’s best to minimize misrepresentation and deception.” So which is it? Apparently I don’t even need to write a response because you’re effectively arguing against yourself! When I tried to inquire about a specific instance of misrepresentation to discuss, you were unwilling to take a position...but you persisted in asking if you are incorrect. Well, if your position is misrepresentation is an effective and permissible practice in negotiations, then I say yes, you are absolutely incorrect (see next paragraph). As for your final remark to “spare PepeTheFrog nonsense about morality,” that makes it near impossible to properly have a discussion about the concept of “negotiating in good faith” which is as much a moral/ethical issue as it is a practical one. But since you only want to address this concept in terms of real world applicability, I’ll bite. What is actually “naive” is to think that there are no negative real world implications to the strategy or tactics/practices you advocate. Apparently frogs are only concerned with the short term (which isn’t surprising since your life expectancy is only 10-12 years), but I approach negotiations with the long term in mind (as should others negotiating Government contracts because these are often 5+ year deals). Unless the negotiation is a one time transaction with no future interaction (aka buying a car could be an example) the resulting deal is only one outcome of the negotiation, another outcome, arguably a more important one, is the relationship between the negotiating parties. At some point, your “misrepresentation” scheme is going to fail (it’s a matter of basic probabilities that with each subsequent misrepresentation you will inevitably be caught - surely you’ve read NNT’s latest book so you should know this - moreover, with an experienced, well prepared negotiator it’s highly likely misrepresentation will fail sooner rather than later). So when you do get caught, then what? You’ve lost all credibility, you’ve damaged the relationship with the other party, and you’ve potentially exposed yourself to penalties or litigatation depending on the severity of the misrepresentation. Those aren’t risks worth taking, particularly when there are equally (I’d even argue more) effective ways to negotiate. Ultimately, good contract management requires a good relationship between the parties and your tactics risk poisoning the ultimate outcome (remember, the contract is not the ultimate outcome, it merely embodies the promises of the parties to reach some defined outcome(s)...they still have to work with one another for some period of time to reach that end state). Vern’s right: any competent party should/would make you pay a heavy price if you’re caught employing these tactics you think are better and stronger. Do yourself a favor and stop assuming those you disagree with are incompetent, soy milk drinking, non-deadlifting, unprofessional federal employees (after reading NNT’s books I now know where you get most of your jibes from...maybe you should change your moniker to PepeTheParrot). This pessimism disguised as realism may sound cute when written on these forums, but this isn’t effective or good advice for contracting professionals.
  19. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Pepe, Before I respond further, let me ask you this: do you support the specific “misrepresentation” H2H deemed appropriate on this thread?
  20. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Well you could have said that, but you didn't (and still haven't by saying "perhaps"). You instead hid behind a fallacious argument by appealing to (what you assert is) common practice by the Government. Re-read what you argued and explain how your counter argument is equally valid under a cost-reimbursement environment as it is in a fixed price environment. When Vern pointed out that your argument is not applicable in both of those situations, you posted what I consider an egregious negotiation philosophy. Now you're pivoting again. Are you going to defend your original position or admit its flaws? It's okay to do the latter, I've done it plenty of times on these forums and felt no shame whatsoever. After all, we're all here to learn (so let's learn the right things).
  21. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Didn't your mother teach you that two wrongs don't make a right? I personally hope no one heeds your advice on what constitutes proper behavior at the negotiating table - I think if you took some time to reflect on what you stated, you'd realize its inappropriate. If you do come to that realization, you should retract that statement. If you don't, it will just serve as a piece of information about who you are and how you operate.
  22. Matthew Fleharty

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    I disagree - misrepresenting facts is not negotiating in good faith...
  23. Matthew Fleharty

    NAF Funding

    No, the FAR is only Applicable when (according to FAR 1.104): See definition of "acquisition" which states (emphasis added): Since you're using non-appropriated funds the FAR, including its pricing policies, do not apply. Take a moment and re-read your original post jfeibel. Do you notice how it contradicts itself? Why state upfront that "the FAR doesn't apply to NAF" then immediately disregard that statement to inquire as to whether or not you would "be bound be [sic] FAR since you are using a contract"?
  24. Matthew Fleharty

    Charging with Coverage

    Desparado, While I'm not Vern, here are some examples of what I consider Discussions versus Questions:
  25. Matthew Fleharty

    how to structure emergency service

    If there was a book of contracting aphorisms, this statement would certainly be in there.
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