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General.Zhukov

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  1. 1102 here. Not sure if *right place to post this. Situation: My agency has a system that has been developed and supported by a contractor for >5 Years. Up for 're-compete.'' It seems the Program Office has been *heavily* reliant on the contractor all this time, and lacks the technical competence to explain what this system does, or what they would like it to do The Program Office provided to me a wildly incoherent Statement of Work (Sample: It mysteriously included a years-old version of 52.212-3 in full text as an attachment to their SOW, no other clauses or Section I, just that one provision). The Program Office has received feedback on the SOW from me, industry, other internal stakeholders, and several other Contracting folks and they have incrementally improved it over several months. I would say it has improved from an "F-" to a "D+." It at least covers the known requirements and has all the parts (such as deliverables). The clock is ticking and at some point very soon we need to move on. P.S. This is a highly technical requirement (lots of buzz-words...unstructured data, machine learning, containers, PaaS, hybrid cloud, etc.). Its not a common-sense type thing you can just eye-ball and figure out. P.P.S. I am fairly certain the incumbent contractor's team could easily write a clean, coherent and generally pretty good PWS in a day. I am also fairly certain any consultant in the relevant field could, with access to all our information, write a clean, coherent and generally pretty good PWS in a week. Questions: Whose responsibility is it to sufficiently define the the requirement? Who makes the decision about when its 'good enough?' What is the responsibility of the Contracting Officer with regards to requirements that they do not and could not reasonably be expected to fully understand? What to do? General advice welcome.
  2. General.Zhukov

    A $1,220 Coffee Mug

    " Each time a handle breaks, the Air Force is forced to order a whole new cup, as replacement parts are no longer made." [Each Time a Mug Handle Breaks] Do I issue a $1,200 PO today to get a replacement and be done with it, or initiate the process to establish an alternate source, which may take months and dozens (hundreds?) of hours; hours better spent on things more consequential than non-commercial coffee mug handles?
  3. General.Zhukov

    Master Degrees

    A Master in Public Administration (MPA) or Master in Public Policy (MPP), maybe. Some MPA programs have a lot of relevant content - some even have a Contracting/Acquisition focus. Around DC- Georgetown, American & UMD come to mind. Don't know about southern CA though.
  4. General.Zhukov

    A Hiring Challenge

    Lurker here. Do you think the challenge is reasonable? This challenge is selecting for professorial types. If writing and big-picture exposition are important for the work to be done in this position, then its reasonable. The essay challenge matches pretty well with the second and third evaluation factors - explaining fundamentals and writing, respectively. However, I don't think this method is a particularly effective means of evaluating for the first factor - 'demonstrated breadth and depth of knowledge of the topic.' Would you accept the challenge or walk away? Walk. This is far, far away from my areas of expertise. If you would accept, how well do you think you would do? Not well.
  5. General.Zhukov

    How can we speed up the source selection process?

    Look at source selection as a business process to be re-engineered (or made 'lean' or whatever term is used by the fashionable management trend of the day). Seen as a process, we look for 1) steps that can be entirely eliminated, 2) process-wide improvements, c) changes to the process itself. This is how my brain works. From this view, here are some ideas: 1) Eliminate wasteful steps in the process. Fewer evaluation factors. No value add to the source selection after, say, 3 factors, so eliminate them. 2) Use technology to speed up document reviews, correspondence, etc. Document review/approval workflows with a due date are good. 3) Incentives. People respond to incentives. The Carrot: "You have 10 days (80 hours) to evaluate X. Finish early and the remaining hours are time-off." Or The Stick: "this is your full-time on-site job until you are done. Cancel your meetings, set your out-of-office, and wish your boss/customers/direct reports farewell." 4) Consensus. For me, this is the #1 time-suck. Focus on speeding this specific step up. 5) Cultural changes. Encourage innovation and experimentation, and expanding when successful, don't punish when it fails. 6) Very long pdf's are not the default format for proposals, but rather the format of last resort.
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