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Don Mansfield

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Posts posted by Don Mansfield

  1. On 8/2/2019 at 10:11 AM, General.Zhukov said:
    • For a agile software development RFQ my instructions are for offerors to answer our questions, rather than have them write a so-called technical/management approach.  Questions (slightly modified here) are:

    1.       What is your management process for this order, including working with the Product Manager, COR, and End Users to capture and size user stories, prioritize, and work-off the product backlog?

    3.       What is your definition of done?

    5.       What is your anticipated velocity?

    6.       What is your quality management plan for [something]

    8.       How do you plan on allocating work between the teams, particularly between [X] & [Y]?

    Page Limit: 5 Pages.

    Better, but you are still requesting information with little predictive value. Unless you are asking for promises, an offeror's statements about the future will be written to show them in the best possible light--as opposed to providing the most accurate depiction of the future. This is improved crawling. 

  2. 13 minutes ago, here_2_help said:

    I fear to step into this discussion but this, to me, highlights an interesting difference between government and commercial contracting. During the great recession of 2008 - 2011 (which, if you recall, was global), Airbus was forced to renegotiate the fixed-price deals it had with some of its suppliers. The suppliers were struggling financially. Either Airbus stepped-in or it would lose its supply chain. So it did. The old contracts were torn up and new, more favorable, contracts were negotiated.

    I'm not advocating a similar approach here; I'm just noting that, in the commercial marketplace, contract terms can be renegotiated when the need arises. The next time somebody says the government should operate more like the commercial marketplace, perhaps somebody should point out what that might mean.

    Terms can be renegotiated under Government contracts, too. Remember when DoD gave a generous price increase and advance payments to the Anthrax vaccine contractor that was failing?

  3. 31 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

    I beg your pardon...


    No offense intended. I have no problem with what you wrote. I think ji is responding as a contracting officer should when being asked for a price increase on a FFP contract. The first question should be "what entitles the contractor to a price increase?" Under the standard FAR clauses, severe weather alone does not. End of story. If the contractor wants a price increase, they need to present a different argument. Cold hard logic.

  4. 10 hours ago, General.Zhukov said:

    This has been done.  The Army had a pretty slick clause picker called Clause Logic Service, but sadly its gone now, or behind a firewall. 

    Clause Logic Service relies on human interaction with the program. I want something that can scan an acquisition plan and spit out all required FAR/DFARS provisions and clauses.

    Here's a tool that scans contracts and spits out a list of required flowdowns: https://farclause.com/ That's what I'm talking about.

    We're probably not that far from a tool that scans RFPs and can spit out a winning "technical/management approach".  

  5. @MBrown,

    I agree. Contracting officers shouldn't be including clauses in contracts that are clearly inapplicable and claiming they are "self-deleting". However, some clauses are written to become inapplicable if certain conditions are met or an exception applies (what some call "self-deleting"). For example,

    FAR 52.219-9(a): "This clause does not apply to small business concerns."

    FAR 52.222-20 preamble: "If this contract is for the manufacture or furnishing of materials, supplies, articles or equipment in an amount that exceeds or may exceed $15,000, and is subject to 41 U.S.C. chapter 65, the following terms and conditions apply:"

    FAR 52.230-2(a): "Unless the contract is exempt under 48 CFR 9903.201-1 and 9903.201-2, the provisions of 48 CFR Part 9903 are incorporated herein by reference and the Contractor, in connection with this contract, shall-"

    FAR 52.230-6(l)(1) actually uses the term: "do not use self-deleting clauses".

    Self-deleting clauses are a thing. 

  6. On ‎7‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 11:21 AM, WifDan said:


    I have a question about the pre-award process, and incorporating clauses into contract terms.  Granted,  conwrite systems will provide a menu of potentially applicable clauses for acquisition staff to choose from and incorporate into the contract, limiting the scope of clauses and making life easier....  I wondered though, if I wanted to be  absolutely sure that all the clauses are in the contract that I need, so as to avoid a time-consuming modification to add a missing clause down the road, is there any rule or otherwise practical constraint, stopping me from incorporating as many clauses  into the contract as a I can whether I think they'll be applicable or not?  

    Thank you.


    I think this is a thoughtful question for a beginner.

    First, the rule that you would have to consider is whether incorporating a clause that isn't required would be a deviation from the FAR. See FAR subpart 1.4 for coverage of deviations.

    Second, I think that including as many clauses as possible so that you don't have to do a modification in the future is a good example of local optimization at the expense of system optimization. Those clauses impose administrative burdens on contractors and increase costs. These costs are passed on to the Government in the form of higher prices/costs. I think it would be a good idea to have a shopping cart feature on screens where contract specialists are selecting clauses, so they can see the increased costs as they select.

    Third, since you're a beginner, I'm going to assume that you're young and more tech savvy than me. Get together with some of your friends and develop a computer algorithm for selecting contract clauses. Humans are not good at selecting clauses--we'd be better off with robots.

  7. On ‎7‎/‎31‎/‎2019 at 8:19 AM, MBrown said:

    No one should work with the view that a clause is "self-deleting".  A clause cannot self-delete.  It might be found illegal, unenforceable, or unworkable, but relying on the fiction that a clause is self-deleting is unprofessional and opens the risk door wide to the prospect of claims.

    What do you mean by "self-deleting"? Do you mean a clause that is included in a contract that may turn out to be inapplicable?

  8. 17 minutes ago, PepeTheFrog said:

    A quote is not an offer. A request for quotes (RFQ) is therefore less "stringent" than a request for proposals. A late quote is less of a big deal than a late proposal. When the government finds a quote it likes, the government will send an offer.

    I don't think this is true if the solicitation contained the unaltered text of FAR 52.212-1, as this provision includes the standard late offer rule. That's why I advocate tailoring the provision for SAP so the CO can accept late quotations if they are received before award is made and doing so would not unduly delay the acquisition. 

  9. On 7/5/2019 at 10:28 AM, ji20874 said:

    The FAR only provides one statement that can fit as a purpose of a debriefing...

    This is neither factual nor a rational interpretation of FAR 15.506. The claim:

    On 7/5/2019 at 10:28 AM, ji20874 said:

    The purpose of the debriefing is to furnish the basis for the selection decision, rather than to let unsuccessful offers know why they lost.

    is laughable pseudo intellectualism.

  10. Vern wrote this in a 2009 post:

    Traditionally, purchases against Part 13 BPAs have been referred to as "calls," for the very reason that most orders were made by telephone. See, e.g., Dept. of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Simplified Acquisition Procedures Handbook, COMDTINST M-4200.13G, p. 7-17 et. seq. http://www.uscg.mil/directives/cim/4000-49...IM_4200_13G.pdf The calls are logged and the log is used to verify delivery tickets and invoices for monthly payment to the contractor.

  11. On 6/30/2019 at 8:00 PM, ji20874 said:

    The purpose of the debriefing is to furnish the basis for the selection decision, rather than to let unsuccessful offers know why they lost.  It might seem to be two sides of the same coin, but there is a subtle difference.

    "The" purpose. Definite article.

    Are you saying that the correct interpretation of your claim is that furnishing the basis of the source selection decision is one of multiple purposes of a debriefing?


  12. On 7/1/2019 at 8:03 AM, ji20874 said:


    See FAR 15.506(a)(1)--

    • "An offeror, upon its written request received by the agency within 3 days after the date on which that offeror has received notification of contract award in accordance with 15.503(b), shall be debriefed and furnished the basis for the selection decision and contract award."

    This does not support the claim that "furnishing the basis of the selection decision" is the sole purpose of a debriefing, much less that a debriefing has a sole purpose. Non sequitur by ji.

  13. 3 hours ago, formerfed said:

    Other important attributes are communications both written and oral, ability to listen and understand others needs, ability to analyze and devise sound solutions, collaboration and cooperation, teamwork, flexibility, and paying attention to details and quality.  

    How do you measure these attributes before you hire the person?

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