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Posts posted by General.Zhukov

  1. I deal with the Product or Service issue often in the context of contractually supporting a large scientific library used by our agency.  A library that has lots of varying contractual agreements for data, publications, research support, etc.  Some are product, some are service.  However, most are subscriptions with PSC Code D317.  The answer depends on the specifics, of course.  But generally speaking...

    Outside of FAR, look at commercial billing practices.  Is it FFP (probably product) or usage-based, like Labor Hour (probably service)?   Pay in full at time of purchase (probably product) or in arrears (probably service).  

  2. 18 hours ago, joel hoffman said:

    If the in-house using activity doesn’t have the expertise to write the performance work statement and you think that a consultant could write a clean, coherentt and pretty good PWS in a week, what are you waiting for? You have an answer, so the team should move out ASAP and hire a consultant, who won’t be interested in competing for the resultant contract. 

    Yeah, I've already pitched 'use your P-Card to hire a technical consultant from FSS 70 for a week, who is willing to agree to the OCI/Non-Disclosures/Non-competes.'  But our cultural is very conservative, and that's isn't' happening.  Our in-house consultants have helped though, but we don't have a deep bench for this domain.

  3. 13 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

    Emphasis added.

    The words of someone who has never written a PWS.


    I have not.  In this specific case, what we do is very similar to what a lot of other people do, and we've been doing it for years, so its not starting from scratch.  Hence the short times.  But the point is taken.  Its very difficult to write a PWS at all, and more so to write it well.  

  4. 4 hours ago, bob7947 said:


    1. What is the expected dollar value of the procurement?
    2. How long to expiration of the current contract?

    Just for laughs,

    1. Who approves the contractor's invoices?
    2. Was this item truly developed by the contractor, and if claimed so by the program, how do they know?
    3. Who evaluates the contractor's performance?  

    Edit:  I added #3 about 30 minutes after I wrote the original text.  I won't look at this topic again.


    1: Between 1 to 5 $MM per year.

    2: September (!), but there is wiggle room there.


    1: COR and, since its currently being administrated by a different Department,  that other Department's minimally involved CO.

    2:  Its an IT system the contractor maintains and uses to do stuff for us.  Its like a kitchen.   Government owns all the tools, all the ingredients, and the recipes are open-source. The contractor is the chef.  We can fire the chef and hire a new one, but we may not like their cooking.   

    3: The same dynamic duo as question 1.


  5. 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.  


    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.


  6. " 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?  


  7. 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.  

  8. 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.    


  9. 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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