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Project of the Week – Better Buy Project

GovLoop’s Acquisition2.0 group is an amazing group of over 300 people from government and industry who share a passion for making the government buying process more efficient, transparent and collaborative. The group shares ideas on everything from career advice to detailed FAR cases to improving the entire acquisition process. Out of this group came an idea to take some action on improving the acquisition process. Specifically, could we leverage web2.0 technologies to make the acquisition process more collaborative and transparent? Could we at the same time test the impacts on privacy, security, records management, 508 compliance, etc? And, why don’t we try applying the ideas and technologies to an actual procurement? Yes, Tom Suder is brilliant. So the good folks at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council (ACT/IAC) and the National Academy for Public Administration (NAPA) came together to scope and support this project. And we must give credit to Dan Munz at NAPA for coming up with the project name and logo – he’s our creative genius!

We decided to look at the 1st phase of the acquisition process, also known as the “pre-award” phase. We’ve broken it out as follows:

(1) Market Research and Requirements Definition
– Publicizing the agency’s need
– Receiving input to refine the need
– Receiving info on capabilities to meet the need

(2) Pre-Solicitation
– Sharing information on the requirements and agency/organization/program missions and needed outcomes
– Soliciting information (think requests for information or RFIs)
– Issuing solicitations

(3) Solicitation Phase
– Private sector review of solicitation
– Questions/answers/clarifications on solicitation
– Proposal submissions

The first step in our project is to open a dialogue in early October to solicit ideas from anyone who’d like to provide input. NAPA is going to host the dialogue, similar to what they’ve done to support the National Dialogues. We’ll ask for ideas, ask for comments on other’s ideas, ask for recommendations and ranking.

Our Better Buy Project team will then review the ideas and decide what ideas and tools we can apply to an actual acquisition conducted by GSA. We see this happening in phases and perhaps applying different ideas and different tools to multiple acquisitions. We’ll be documenting our journey along the way with lessons learned and good practices that we will also share. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start to innovate federal acquisition in a way that makes it easier to buy, makes the process more transparent, cost effective, results in improved outcomes for government and the private sector and provides better value for taxpayer dollars.

How can you help? Watch for our announcement asking for ideas on the Better Buy project and give us your best!

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Phase 1 eats up a lot of procurement lead time, putting contracting officials under pressure in phases 2 and 3 to meet deadlines, causing inefficiencies and less than desireable outcomes.