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Everything posted by General.Zhukov

  1. I highly encourage you to look up the "Advisory Down Select" method, from DHS PIL. Typically, the low rated offerors are eliminated via the down-select, and are ineligible for phase two. Instead, using an advisory down-select, low rated offerors remain eligible for phase two. Instead of being eliminated, they are advised that they are unlikely to win the contract should they decide to proceed to phase two. But they can proceed if they want to. Encouraging voluntary withdrawal of low-quality proposals, rather than tossing them out yourself, may solve your problem, and is (imo) a brilliant idea. Its fair, relatively easy to do, eliminates the grounds for a lot of pre-award protest, simplifies the SS, and saves the offerors time and money. Wins all around.
  2. Interesting, never read this difference b/w FFP & LH, - who determines the hours - but it makes sense. "Field Marshall of the Soviet Union Zhukov" seems a little pompous.
  3. True. With a few caveats For a new call center, my guess is straight FFP is not appropriate, I'd guess there is unknown and/or unpredictable call volume, or whatever, aka you cannot accurately estimate anticipated costs with any degree of confidence. A call center is very much a 'commercial item,' so I would suggest follow commercial pricing practices to the extent possible. Which, I would guess from what you wrote, is LH. If it is, and all is well with FAR 12.207, and you get approval to do it that way, by all means, do it that way. If its Call Centers As a Service (PSC DC10 & DC01) it probably uses typical 'As A Service' pricing - which is pay-for-usage. Which is often T&M. Or if-necessary to comply with some mandate to used firm fixed price, some complicated pricing monster that is legally FFP, but sorta works for cloud services, and makes everyone unhappy (one of my specialties). The real experts may weigh-in here, and I pre-emptively defer to them.
  4. What you describe here is, in effect, Labor Hour. If it were actually FFP, the number of actual hours worked would be irrelevant. FFP = Do job, get paid agreed to sum in full, whether it takes 5 hours or 20 hours. My understanding is FFP LOE is only for R&D, so no. Most of the contractors I have dealt with love Level of Effort and Labor Hour because it has minimal risk for them. Government pays for the input, not the output. Easy to plan and/or max out revenue. If you ever have a conference call with a contractor, and like 5 extra contractors are on the phone contributing nothing, they've got quotas to meet for their billable hours. That said, I have used LH a lot, and opinions of competent and honest people will differ on what, exactly, is a " reasonable degree of confidence." Comes down to trust, relationships, and negotiating prowess. From what you've written, it reads like a pretty clear-cut case for FFP.
  5. Federal contracting, like many professions, starts off with a common basis, and quickly branches into specialization. The certification process Levels I, II, III are very general, and don't account for specialization (aka, 'reality'), and therefore I don't think they are particularly useful. There are other better ways of quantifying levels and types of expertise and experience. Don Mansfield's take ('performance based certs') is a good one. I also find inspiration in software/IT world, where there are many types of certs across domains and expertise. Some IT certs are niche, some are broad. Some are basically evidence of 'I am not a total idiot' while others are really, really difficult, prestigious, and valuable ( check out 'AWS Certified Solutions Architect').
  6. Probably yes. My first thought is that this type of set up would be quite simple to do with a BPA. There are probably creative ways to do this with an order, maybe, if all the stars in in alignment. However, I wouldn't do it, I'm aggressive, but not that aggressive.
  7. I am genuinely curious about the answer to this question. There is a good presentation about unavailable key personnel here. However, its grounded in FAR 15 and relies on the concept of 'discussions.' Under other, less rigorous procedures (say, 16.5 or 8.4) or in the case where the RFP did not have an explicit prohibition on late proposal modifications, I wonder discretion the CO would have to respond to a change in KP. For example of something that would not fly under FAR 15 ( I think) - Say we've done the technical evaluation considering KP. Then GVT receives notice of change to KP. Could the GVT then determine the two KP are equivalent and let the evaluation stand as is? Perhaps allow for a revision to the proposal to update KP, without notifying or undertaking further negotiations with any other offerors?
  8. 1) With the usual caveats (do what the solicitation says, depends on the details of the specific case, etc.) - Yes, they definitely should notify and probably have to notify. Change to key personnel would (might) be a material change to the proposal. An evaluation and award, conducted when the winning proposal did not reflect a known material change, can be successfully protested. See Greenleaf B-293105.18. https://www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/29310518.pdf 2) What the solicitation states is important, and so forth. But generally yeah, the Agency has to allow the substitution if notified and update their source selection process (like the evaluation part that covered KP) accordingly. However, I could see circumstance where the CO could legitimately toss out the proposal, or allow everyone to update proposals. The fact that proposals were submitted 10 months ago suggests the Agency should accommodate changes...but who knows. 3) If I am the offeror, I tell them of the change and the circumstance around it. I'd then look carefully at the proposal and figure out what has to change along with that KP (maybe nothing, maybe a lot of stuff). I ask the CO if I can submit a revised proposal reflecting the change in KP and any other resulting changes to the proposal (maybe that KP's labor rate or LOE changes, and so all the pricing data needs to be updated). If CO allows it, then I'd ask for any specific instructions about revising the proposal and check those instructions to make sure I can change everything I need to change. If I were the CO, and I find out about the KP post-award, I would be at the minimum be annoyed about it and would suspect I did not get notification for some nefarious reason.
  9. Here is what my office typically does in this common scenario. Re-Post: No, but you can if you want to. Sole Source: No. Negotiate: Depends. Probably do have to type up a brief written determination explaining why this isn't a de facto sole source. Its in FAR 8.405-1/2/3. Like brief - a paragraph is usually sufficient.
  10. Probably yes to both. One of the things CO's look for in an RFI are what sources are available and where. I have personally been persuaded to switch acquisiiton vehicles due to feedback, including RFI responses. Like a reallly outstanding company tells us they are not on X (say GSA's FSS) but are on Y (say NITAAC) that will weigh in my decision about switching from X to Y.
  11. Seems a bid protest contributed to the CDC’s national stockpile of ventilators failing. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/us/politics/coronavirus-ventilators.html In fact, the contract with a company that was maintaining the machines expired at the end of last summer, and a contract protest delayed handing the job to Agiliti, a Minneapolis-based provider of medical equipment services and maintenance. Agiliti was not given the $38 million task until late January, when the scope of the global coronavirus crisis was first becoming clear. It is not known whether problems with the ventilators predated the contract lapse, but maintenance of the machines did halt. That delay may become a potentially deadly lapse. “We were given a stop-work order before we’d even started,” said Tom Leonard, the chief executive of Agiliti, which had won the contract to service the ventilators in the stockpile. “Between the time of the original and the time of this contract award, I don’t know who was responsible or if anybody was responsible for those devices. But it was not us.” This is the protested contract solicitation or contract LTV1200-75A50119R00041 https://fbo.gov.surf/FBO/Solicitation/LTV1200-75A50119R00041 This is the new contract 75A50120C00005 https://govtribe.com/award/federal-contract-award/definitive-contract-75a50119c00070 Thoughts?
  12. Personnel/SETA contracts aren't my thing, I mostly do IT services. But I feel your pain. The problem of evaluating people who may or may not actually do the work is a very common problem. The general solution is to not evaluate people, evaluate the firm, because that is who you are going to hire. And for firms, the best thing to evaluate is - surprising absolutely nobody on wifcon - Past Performance. The larger the project, the more true this is. If I were evaluating say a three-person consulting team, I definitely would evaluate those three individuals. If it were a 50+ person team, I would not evaluate that stack of resumes. Here is some guides/examples of typical IT services solicitations that may serve as inspiration for your sections L &M: https://aida.mitre.org/agile/agile-rfp/ https://resources.sei.cmu.edu/asset_files/specialreport/2016_003_001_484063.pdf https://hallways.cap.gsa.gov/app/#/doclib?document=5144
  13. Yes, it would be bad to get it. Those Who Recover From Coronavirus Can Be Left With Reduced Lung. People who recover after being infected with the novel coronavirus can still be left with substantially weakened lung capacity, with some left gasping for air when walking quickly, doctors in Hong Kong have found. If you are in good health, you can still die.
  14. You have a 'Long-Term Contract' which means the company does not have to re-represent for a few years. As I understand it, until they do re-represent, you carry on treating them like a small business for the purposes of ordering and reporting. No my area of expertise though.
  15. I am a CO, and former Army guy who has spent more days at military " role playing training facilities" than I care to remember, although never at one specifically for SOCOM. The key here is that the requirement is for a large training area, enough for 4 village sites and a road network, "within 15-mile radius of Camp Mackall." How many such areas could possibly exist? My guess is - one. There is only one possible location. Everyone in the know knows exactly where it is, who owns it, what their price is, and what can or cannot be done on it, and how. If you have any chance at getting this contract you either own that land, or are best friends with whomever does own it. Given that fact, SOCOM probably felt no need to go into further detail in the solicitation.
  16. Probably yes. Phase One's purpose is to quickly screen for proposals that are worth evaluating in more detail during Phase Two. So what we are looking for are: - Criteria that are pretty good at indicating high-value - Criteria that is relatively easy to evaluate - objective, minimal interpretation needed, this usually means quantitative data. - Proposal information that is relatively low-cost for offerors. Avoiding FAR 15 procedures, or the appearance of using FAR 15 procedures. Pretty Good Screening Criteria I Have Actually Used At Least Once, And Did Not Regret Using Samples. I had a requirement that involved, basically, scrubbing and QCing some messy and complicated data. Our scientists made some fake data, with some subtle errors in it. An evaluation factor was 'analyze this fake data and tell us what you found.' If they don't find the errors - Fail. If they find the errors - Meh. If they find the errors and explain them - Good. This took less than 10 minutes to evaluate per proposal. Everyone involved (Program personnel and Offerors) liked it. Quasi-Past-Performance. Criteria about offeror's experience and performance on similar work, but not FAR 15 Past Performance exactly. PIL has something about this. Offerors have some essential credentials, warrants, licenses, etc. CMMI Level II. FedRAMP. SCIF. Has appropriate State licenses, etc. Pretty close to responsibility determination though, so be careful. Challenge Questions / Short Q&As. Offeror's give brief (like really brief - 1/2 page, a few slides, 10 min. presentation) pitches for how the offeror proposes to do the work. This is much more subjective, but if done right, this can be very productive. In my area, IT, we would probably ask about proposed architecture, platforms, software development methodology, etc. Often our technical folks will immediately know they do or do not like a particular approach based on these answers. Summary "Technical Approach."Give us the short version. 1 page. Key Personnel. Sometimes in my area (IT), at the end of the day we are buying smart people that can code. The rest is window dressing. You may consider just asking for KP info at first. But be careful about this approach, it has some serious down-sides and, generally,and is appropriate only for select circumstances (small & highly technical).
  17. I love the fact that a comparative evaluation used in phase one of a multi-phase source selection has serious mathematics hiding just below the surface. Bottom Line: Don't try comparative evaluations if you expect to get a lot of proposals. Its a much more challenging math problem that it may first appear. Its a special case of what I think its called a comparison sorting algorithm (note: I like math, but am no mathematician) that is known in math and computer science. When the numbers are low, just basic math required to figure out the number of comparisons necessary. But as the number increases, this problem gets exponentially more difficult. Quickly goes from intuitive to computationally hard to God-level AI needed. Number To Be Compared & Sorted Number of Highest Rated You Need To Know Who Can Do The Math To Figure Out How Many Comparisons Are Needed 3 1 Child 5 2 Educated Adult 8 2 Well-Educated Adult 15 5 Computer Scientist 30 5 PhD in Combinatorics 100 10 Von Neumann + Quantum Supercomputer 1000 50 Deep Thought
  18. Ah, you are correct. I was thinking of a new TO issued against something like an agency IDIQ, which for small $ isn't protestable; while an out of scope mod would be. This is not an area I am very familiar with. My mistake. The general point was that an otherwise inexplicable method of procurement sometimes makes sense if understood as a method of avoiding a protest-happy contractor.
  19. There are strategic reasons. People: That's the only contract available for that particular contractor. Time: A bilateral mod on an existing TO may take a few days, while a new TO might have a lead time of months. Avoiding protest / legal strategy. In some situations, an out-of-scope mod to a TO (or other type of contract action) can't be protested, but a new contract/order could be. If you are in a contentious litigation with a company who has declared their intent to expand their protest further (possibly to pressure the Government to take corrective action rather than wait for a decision), then this may be a good idea. Particularly if the stop-work(s) is (are) becoming very painful.
  20. I don't have a real rationale, nor argument. I can terminate a commercial contract unilaterally, which is far more drastic a measure than a stop-work, but conceptually very similar, so if I can take a full-measure, why not a half-measure? Again, not going to argue this point. This is kinda sorta like the rationale in Robert A. & Sandra B. Moura, PSBCA 3460, 96-1 BCA ¶ 27,956: Excellent feedback, thank you all. Much appreciated. I take the point that the clauses in the contract, not the FAR, is what's binding. In my particular case, a contractor is performing work under a commercial services contract. By all accounts, doing a very good job. However, there are several major issues with the contract. One being we (GVT) are considering terminating it due to change in our business strategy, but haven't yet made that decision. . Second, the contractor seems to have been receiving interim payments, not delivery payments as intended. And at this point has been paid in full, but the work is incomplete. Given these circumstances, the grown-ups have decided we are in a hole, and need to stop digging immediately. I feel like there is some basis for issuing a stop work in this case, although I cannot find on in the texts.
  21. What's going on with stop-work orders for commercial contracts that do not have 52.242-15? FAR 52.212-4 & -5 do not appear to have anything allowing issuance of unilateral stop-work orders. Does that matter? My intuition is that it doesn't, I can go ahead and issue a unilateral stop-work order for any commercial contract and that stop work order will be legally binding. FAR 42.1303 Stop-work orders - this part of the FAR indicates to me I can issue a stop work for a commercial contract, regardless of clauses, so long as the contract meets those weird critieria. Why does FAR 42.1303 have these weird, seemingly arbitrary criteria? Implying no stop work order for simplified, sealed bid, 16.5 orders, incentive contracts, time & material, etc. This makes no sense to me. negotiated fixed-price or cost-reimbursement supply, research and development, or service contract Why doesn't the FAR say the government can issue a stop work order, always - the end?
  22. Validating stuff from external sources - (SAM.GOV). Compliance reviews Organizing, preparing contract file & documentation. Routine correspondence. Automating contract writing - checking boxes, adding boilerplate T&C, etc. Acquisition planning - esp. filling out technical documents or forms. All the back-office purchase card stuff.
  23. This is a clue. My guess is that they are trying to price the change (maybe an equitable adjustment?) and can't figure out how to do that without more granular pricing data.
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