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General.Zhukov

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  1. I'm in agreement with the other posters. The office culture and the type of contracting they do matters a great deal. To do the cool stuff you first have to have know how to do the boring stuff. You don't like doing the boring stuff, neither does your boss. And guess who assigns the work? Sorta like a Seaman's job vs a Chief Petty Officer. Personally, I find I am satisfied with the amount of cool stuff I do on a day to day basis. I work for a small agency, which means we 1102s can't be too specialized. And I only work with IT, which is often complicated and employs a lot of different contracting techniques. So lots of novelty. Today's Backlog as of now. I'll probably only do two or three of these today: For a single-award BPA for IT services, tell the contractor we all agree, negotiations are over, and prepare the award (boring) For another single-award BPA for IT services, finish updating the Task Order term and conditions, send RFP to contractor. We are expecting contentious negotiations so I am being very deliberate (not boring). Deal with a super-difficult customer who doesn't know what they want, but knows they want it now, and knows how much it will cost, so what's the hold up? (not boring). Review and approve some option exercises and administrative modifications (boring) Finish writing an 8(a) Offering Letter (boring) Update my statuses (very boring). Figure out what to do about a contractor that has unfinished work, that the PM doesn't like, and whose entire team working on my task was recently poached by a competitor (not boring). Send option notices (the most boring possible thing in the world).
  2. I do IT contracting, this classification issue comes up a lot (esp. in combination with NAICS codes and Small Business Set-Asides). When in doubt, I try to use this simple analysis, and try to avoid going down the product vs. service vs. 'software' rabbit-hole. 1) FAR 2: “Supplies” means all property. So, the question is are we buying property in any sense of the word? In your case, no, probably not. 2) Usually 'access to' means it's a service. Every moment you don't use that access, its not consumed and gone forever, which is a key trait of services. 3) A Subscription can be sub-set of Service. Supporting evidence: In the PSC taxonomy, subscriptions are sprinkled throughout the D3XX group. Probably a Service.
  3. The earliest use of the phrase 'price realism' I found is 1978 in a GAO decision, so its been around while.
  4. Agree with above - No second-tier BPA or IDC allowed with GWACs. But two caveats, because of course: SEWP has something called an 'Agency Catalog' - its functionally equivalent to a a second-tier BPA, without being a BPA. For certain types of requirements + heavy use of options, a valid Task Order on any GWAC can be functionally equivalent to a second-tier BPA, without being a BPA.
  5. We don't. A cursory glance at FBO suggests nobody does. EDWOSB is a sub-set of WOSB. See FAR 19.15 FAR 6.302-5 -- Authorized or Required by Statute (b) (7) therefore includes EDWOSB. FAR 5.202 (a)(4) - Synopsis Exceptions - The proposed contract action is expressly authorized or required by a statute therefore includes EDWOSB. EDWOSB is exempt from synopsis.
  6. I work in Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHSAR covers Accessibility/Section 508 using language that I am increasingly convinced I don't understand. Two part question. HHSAR 339 (1) When conducting a procurement and employing the best value continuum, the solicitation shall include a separate technical evaluation factor developed by the contracting officer, requiring activity, and the Operating Division (OPDIV) Section 508 Official or designee. The word "continuum" occurs only once in the FAR, in 15.101. I take HHSAR 339 (1) to mean that for any IT procurement either If using FAR 15 procedures, there must be a separate Accessibility/508 evaluation factor or If using 'best value,' there must be a separate Accessibility/508 evaluation factor. And everything is 'best value.' So far as I know, nobody in HHS actually follows either of these interpretations (check FBO if you don't believe me). I've always considered this fact to be a case of ignoring an unreasonable regulation, but maybe I am misinterpreting the regs. What do you think here? (2) At a minimum, solicitations for supplies and services shall require the submission of a Section 508 Product Assessment Template (See http://www.hhs.gov/web/508 for the template). Solicitations for services shall include any other pertinent information that the contracting officer deems necessary to evaluate the offeror's ability to meet the applicable Section 508 accessibility standards. A colleague recently was purchasing a RAM upgrade for some of our servers. Along with the RAM itself, installation services and add-on warranty + maintenance. She has found herself in the absurd situation of being told she must have a section 508 Product Assessment Template (PAT) for this purchase. She has asked me: A PAT for what? I have no answer. For RAM, which is an expensive hunk of metal and plastic? For installation services? For warranty and maintenance - of RAM? The warranty and maintenance is for the whole server, not some sub-component of it. The server (and indeed the whole server farm) already has a comprehensive maintenance contract that is indeed 508 compliant. Does the HHSAR requirement for a PAT even make sense here? If so, how?
  7. No. Schedule 70 is Best in Class for Hardware and Software not Services. BIC IT Services: 8(a) STARS Alliant NITAAC CIO-SP3 VETS 2 There are many scenarios where none of these BIC are appropriate for IT Services. There is a lower-tier but better 'solution' (contract vehicle) Requirement out of scope of all of these Pool of Vendors Not Appropriate or Sufficient Indefinite Contract or BPA Non-Commercial
  8. I agree. Despite what I wrote about how performance is generally tough to measure for government, I don't think acquisition is particularly difficult (with some exceptions). All the things you list are pretty good measures of outcomes.
  9. As an adendnum - Follow up to what I just posted. From the same body of research, there is a network effect (increasing return) with high-performers that backs up this intuition. Consider an organization with three teams made up of A & B. Org 1: ABB ABB ABB Org 2: AAA BBB BBB Org 2 will outperform Org 1, because the 'A Team.'
  10. One of the dudes that wrote this taught in my grad school. Also in grad school, I dabbled in public-sector performance measurement & management. Even if you stick to just operational performance (excluding social net benefit), 'performance' can be difficult to meaningfully define and measure for the public sector. That said, some organizations perform better than others, even if its hard to quantify exactly why or how (when in doubt, the reason is 'leadership.').
  11. The sale of data and access to data is not something that is usually classified 'by industry.' In literally any industry you can think of, someone is collecting and then selling data about that industry. Here is some data you can buy: What kids eat for breakfast in 2007, how many cars are in the parking lot at Target on Sundays, satellite maps of northern Kazakhstan, Getty images in HD, the current location & destination of cargo ships carrying phosphorus, what's trending on Twitter at this exact instant (this last one, I've been told, is shockingly expensive since the main buyers are loaded hedge funds feeding their machines) - this is all data you can purchase and access electronically. No common NAICS code. Its rather the content of the data that drives the determination. That said - here is my guidance Identify some sources of two types. Acquisition vehicles that can be used for the procurement. Companies that do this type of data business. 1) Most acquisition vehicles (like the FSS, GWACs, large government-wide IDCs) tell you what NAICS code you will be using - and that is your answer. 2) Companies sell what you want to buy - look up what NAICS codes they use (like on sam.gov). This may not be that helpful though, because many companies have lots and lots of NAICS codes to cover all their bases, especially the 51 series. If you really want to get down into the weeds, contact these sources and ask them exactly this question. They will give you an answer. This is time consuming, but my be helpful if you have to justify your decision. Alternate: If the PSC is known, use the PSC-NAICS crosswalk. Which will probably identify 518210 BTW.
  12. My agencies lawyers and the SBA have acted as if dollar value does matter when determining if something is a supply or service for the purpose of applying the non-manufacture rule. Not the same thing as the SCA, but close . I classified something as a supply, although the majority of the expected cost was service in support of that supply. So I said the NMR applied. Threat of protest. Legal review. SBA involved. Ultimately, it was reclassified as service, so no NMR. That SB knew what he was doing, he won. Fun Fact: In that case the PSC of record was the key thing - that is what determines supply or service. And you can only pick one. I've been doing this for years and have only a vague idea of what most of the IT services PSC mean or how to classify stuff. Nobody knows. Once, for a presentation on how arbitrary assignment of PSC actually is, I ran a query on FPDS-NG for a particular brand of software and came back with something like eight different PSC for the same thing. Some supplies, some services. This software was GIS, and someone had heroically classified it as aerial photographic services. Which isn't necessarily wrong.
  13. #1 Yes. FAR 16, not 6. This is a Brand Name Justification, which is different from (although closely related to) a Fair Opportunity Exception. BNJ is covered FAR 16.505 (a), while Fair Opportunity is FAR 16.505 (b). Brand Name limits competition with regards to a product, which isn't the same as limiting competition for potential sources. On NASA SEWP, for example, limiting competition to the brand name Oracle still provides Fair Opportunity, since many SEWP contract-holders sell Oracle software. So if you want Oracle and only Oracle you need a BNJ but not a JEFO. Regarding comment #2, my take is that IDCs have *a lot* of diversity, so mandating a notice of intent may not make any sense for a particular IDC, so its not required. However, posting such notice, while not required, is often a good idea. Like when the JEFO approval authority tells you that your justification will not be approved without evidence of industry feedback.
  14. The FAR has little to say about source selection procedures outside of FAR 14 & 15. What is said is unclear. So, there isn't much FAR-level guidance about the idea of 'technical evaluation.' My civilian Agency and Department have no additional guidance on what is, or how to do, technical evaluations. So time to poll the audience. First - my quick dirty definition of 'technical evaluation.' The part of evaluation when someone other than the Contracting Officer assesses the extent to which offers meet Government need exclusively on a technical basis, without accounting for cost/price, past performance, or other considerations. This someone is almost always the customer, or their representative from outside Contracting. Questions: 1a) Is a technical evaluation by folks other than the CO ever required? Not as a matter of following best practices or sound professional judgement - but required? I am not sure. 1b) Assuming a technical evaluation is done (FAR 13, no source selection plan, etc.), when would it need to be documented separately? Wouldn't the CO's written basis of award suffice? 2) Are there any circumstances when a technical evaluation must be conducted separate from a cost/price analysis - when technical evaluators do not have pricing information about the stuff they are evaluating? I am pretty sure that answer is no, as implied by FAR 15.305 (a) (4). 3) How about circumstances when the technical evaluation should be done separately, without the technical team having pricing information? Do you do this?
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