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For those familiar with DoD Source Selection Procedures, what is a "gate"? 

The DoD Source Selection Procedures refer to "gates" twice, in paragraphs 2.3.3; and under Appendix A Topic Area 4: (i), both in reference to "go/no go" or pass/fail criteria.  The guide doesn't actually define what a "gate" is. 

The Guide defines "Quality of Product or Service" as any non-cost factor including past performance.  It then defines "technical" as any non-cost factor other than past-performance. 

Go/No Go is mentioned 3 times in the DoD Source Selection Guide, in para 1.3.1.2., in relation to critical requirements that are subjectively evaluated; and again in 2.3.3. stating solicitations may contain Go/No Go "Gates" as criteria. 

It's a little confusing.  My question is, is a "Gate" a Factor?   Or is a "Gate" just some bit of specified, non-complex criteria that's used anywhere in the evaluation process exactly as it's common usage implies? 

For example, if you're evaluating a Technical Factor, can a Gate be built into the Factor, or does the pass/fail criteria exist outside of Factors?

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Guest Vern Edwards

"Gate" is a metaphor, cdhames. A metaphor. You have to be rated go or pass (satisfy an entry criterion) in order to proceed through the "gate" to the next phase of evaluation.

Really, a high school concept.

A "gate" can be set up for any non-cost factor. You can also establish a "gate' for a price factor under certain circumstances. The go or pass criterion could be "must be within budget", at which point it passes through the gate for consideration of fairness and reasonableness.

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Thank you Vern as always.

Can we build pass/fail gates outside of evaluation factors?  For example, we evaluate price/cost for fair and reasonableness, and then set up technical criterion as pass/fail (assuming there are other complex Technical or PP Factors to evaluate afterward?

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Guest Vern Edwards
23 minutes ago, cdhames said:

Can we build pass/fail gates outside of evaluation factors?

No. You can evaluate proposals only on the basis of the evaluation factors stated in the solicitation. Go/no go and pass/fail "gates' are merely modes of evaluation, and must be grounded in the stated evaluation factors.

An evaluation factor is a property (attribute, feature, quality, characteristic, etc.) of an offeror or of its offer. It is a property that is of interest because it affects value (usefulness) to a significant degree. Some factors are positive factors, such that the more of it there is the greater the value, and negative factors, such that the more of it there is, the lesser the value. In order to evaluate an offeror or its offer you must determine whether the factors of interest are present and, if so, to what extent they are present.

If you care only that an offeror or an offeror have a property in a specified measure, but you don't care how much of it there is beyond that measure, then you can evaluate it in a go/no go or pass/fail mode. If you require that the factor be present in at least X amount, after which point the more of it there is the greater the value, then you can use a pass/fail mode as a gate for qualifying proposals, eliminate those that don't get through, and then compare the qualifying offerors on the basis of the relative amount of it they have.

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That's interesting, a lot of the pass/fail criteria that I see out-and-about such as on FBO generally lead to nothing.  So what I understand you're saying is that a gate leads into the evaluation of a related factor.  For example, you can't have a technical pass/fail criterion that leads into a past performance evaluation; rather, that technical pass/fail gate has to lead into a relevant technical evaluation (i.e., you must address all five bullet points of XX Technical Plan in order to be evaluated for technical acceptability)?  That makes a sort of logical sense.

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Guest Vern Edwards
1 minute ago, cdhames said:

For example, you can't have a technical pass/fail criterion that leads into a past performance evaluation; rather, that technical pass/fail gate has to lead into a relevant technical evaluation?  That makes a sort of logical sense.

Not true. You could say that before we take the time to evaluate your past performance you must show us that you have an acceptable technical approach. If you propose an acceptable technical approach, then we'll evaluate your past performance. Acceptability of technical approach is the gate to the past performance evaluation and beyond to a final best value determination.

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