Say goodbye to 100 page RFPs – 18F found another way

The sprint is over and companies that competed for a slot on 18F’s Agile BPA are lauding what they hope will become a new standard for federal procurement.

18F at GSAIn looking for companies to provide agile development services, the innovative arm of the General Services Administration opted for a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach to the solicitation process. Rather than ask companies for reams of paper promising agile capabilities, 18F set up a proving ground: a two-week test sprint where the only real measurement of success was a working product.

“I certainly hope that this is a new way to do [procurements] going forward,” said Joe Truppo, senior manager at Octo Consulting. “Instead of us delivering 40 pages saying what we could do, we actually got a chance to show them what we could do.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/2015/07/27/18f-show-dont-tell/30737575/

Massachusetts business advisors take advantage of GSA Schedule workshop

Counselors from across Massachusetts benefited from participation in The Academy’s GSA Schedule Workshop on July 23 and 24, 2015.  
Business counselors from the University of Massachusetts PTAC participated in an intensive 2-day GSA Schedule workshop conducted by Georgia Tech.
Business counselors from the University of Massachusetts PTAC participated in an intensive 2-day GSA Schedule workshop conducted by Georgia Tech.

The business counselors — representatives of the Massachusetts Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) — received guidance, advice, and hands-on consulting on the GSA Schedule proposal preparation process.  The PTAC is a part of the Small Business Development Center Network at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Participants were given access to exclusive templates and sample narratives based on successful GSA Schedule offers, and well as a step-by-step workbook.

Lead instructor Alexis Kirksey shared her personal experiences in the preparation and management of GSA Schedules.
Lead instructor Alexis Kirksey shared her personal experiences in the preparation and management of GSA Schedules.

The federal General Services Administration (GSA) awards about $50 billion in blanket contracts known as “Schedules” to hundreds of companies each year.  According to the GSA, 80 percent of Schedule contractors are small businesses who are successful at 36% of those sales. The process to win one of these contracts begins with a proposal, an arduous task that typically takes several months to prepare.

Thanks to Georgia Tech’s workshop, a GSA proposal can be completed in a matter of a few days.  Some businesses have actually submitted their proposals during the two-day workshop.  Others have easily completed and submitted their proposals in as little as 30 days.

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Workshop participants participated in the actual preparation of a GSA Schedule proposal.

For the University of Massachusetts PTAC counselors, learning the Schedule proposal process represents an enhancement of their business advisory skills.  The Academy’s instructors engaged the counselors in the preparation of an actual MOBIS Schedule proposal, recently consolidated by GSA along with several other Schedules into the 00CORP Schedule.

Here’s a sampling of what the UMass counselors had to say about Georgia Tech’s workshop:

  • “I expected an in-depth overview of the Schedule application process, and that is what we received.”
  • “I valued the ‘off-the-script’ discussions and comments by the instructors.”
  • “I got in-depth, step-by-step instructions with screen shots, the required steps, and documents on how to prepare and complete a proposal for a GSA contract.”
  • “I would definitely recommend this to other PTACs and small businesses.”
  • “A great informative and interactive workshop!  Excellent instructors!”
  • “The examples, the scenarios, and the personal experience that was shared were very helpful.  The workbook and screen shots were excellent.”
  • “I got valuable tips as a PTAC Counselor to help clients navigate the various sections of a GSA solicitation and proposal — and much, much more!”
  • “Thank you for a high-value training session!”

Chuck Schadl, Georgia Tech’s group manager for government contracting services, emphasized the significance of hands-on instruction.  “Learn-by-doing is one of the most effective instructional methods.  That’s why we conduct our GSA Schedule Workshop using templates, practical tips, and advice based on real-life experiences.  We immerse Workshop participants in the actual proposal preparation process.”

For more information about the GSA Schedule Workshop, please visit: http://contractingacademy.gatech.edu/gsa-schedule-workshop 

To register for an upcoming Workshop, please visit: https://epay.gatech.edu/C20793_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=100

‘Tis the season for multiple award contracts

Call it what you want — the “budget flush,” “federal Black Friday,” or the “federal holiday spending season” — but the government’s unofficial spending deluge is underway.

Selected GSA eBuy StatsFor more than four decades, federal agencies have been federally mandated to spend all of their allotted budget or face having it taken away. From August through the end of September have traditionally seen the heaviest spending by federal agencies.

“There are 55 shopping days left this year,” Bill Gormley, president and managing partner at the Gormley Group, said in a conference panel at a Bloomberg Government conference in McLean, Va. The next three months will see the heaviest spending of the year for federal agencies, he said.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2015/07/15/multiple-award-contracts.aspx

GSA pushes for new and improved acquisition tools

Chris Hamm, the director of the General Services Administration’s Federal System Integration and Management Center, said government contracting costs too much and takes too much time.

GSA logo“The process is incredibly costly to you and it’s incredibly costly to the government,” Hamm said at a recent contracting conference. “I think the entire system is broken.”

That is why GSA is pushing to use new tools, techniques and processes to make the solicitation and contracting processes easier, faster and cheaper — and contractors should be watching closely.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/2015/07/17/gsa-pushes-new-improved-acquisition-tools/30079605/

GSA launches dashboard for OASIS contracting information

The General Services Administration launched a dashboard so federal procurement staff can compare data on the agency’s newest contracting vehicle, according to a July 13 GSA statement.

OASIS - GSA

The GSA calls OASIS, which is short for One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services, a first-of-its kind contract vehicle for contracts that span multiple disciplines, such as management consulting, logistics and finance. The OASIS dashboard, a tool that GSA says “takes OASIS data to the next level,” is now available for use by the federal contracting community.

The dashboard lets federal procurement professionals view and segment OASIS and OASIS Small Business data by federal agency and industry partner, and then build customized downloadable reports, the statement says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-launches-dashboard-oasis-contracting-information/2015-07-14