A group who shares ideas and experiences employing innovative acquisition practices, collaborative methods and use of Web2.0 technologies to transform federal acquisition.
Steve Kelman’s latest blog post – How to Waste Time and Talent Through Acquisition Training
March 11, 2010 at 11:34 pm #94884
Steve would love you to comment, either here or on the FCW site.
March 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm #94888
Interesting article. I got “back” into the acquisition field after being gone for several years. I have a BA, and I took dozens of contracting and business courses when I was a contract specialist in the 90s. When I came back, I was told to take some on-line DAU courses toward DAWIA certification. Having already been in the government, I was not surprised to see the grammatical errors and corny “clipart” illustrations. However, I ended up hiring a summer intern who was to graduate the following semester from Maryland with a degree in economics (with honors), who was told to take ACQ 100 and such. That’s when I became embarrassed about the content. He never said anything, but finished each course in a very short period of time.
March 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm #94886
The online format is simply not conducive to training the acquisition workforce. The collaborative nature of what we do neccessitates an Instructor-Led Training (ILT) environment. All of my employees complain about the online courses they have to take for FAC-C. Initially, I understood the move to computer-based training (CBT) for some of the 100 level courses based on cost savings but when the 200 level curriculum got chopped up and half of it was converted to CBT as well it really left me with a bad taste. I don’t think creating more, smaller, courses was the right move at all.
I’ve actually never found any of the acquisition curriculum to be very relevant. I know that Bloom’s Taxonomy may be dated but in my very humble opinion training needs to get people to the synthesis level – and we’re barely scratching the surface at the application level. I think organizations like DAU and FAI need to consider doing a robust needs assessment for the overarching acquisition community in order to revamp the current curriculum and do away with the CBT in favor of ILT. It’s an investment that we need to make in our people if we expect to maintain continuity of government for the 1102 series. Plus, the contracting curriculum really needs to be integrated with the program management curriculum. That’s the only way we’re ever truly going to shape up an Acquisition Community.
And rather than a presentation of topical information, the courses need to be designed so that they teach people the requisite analytical skills that they need to perform their daily jobs. For example, I haven’t seen a CON course yet that hones an intern’s ability to pick a Statement of Work apart. Analysis is a dying art in the field and we need to resuscitate it quickly given that we’re having to grow our junior cadre so fast. If we don’t focus on sharpening their analytical skills from Day One we’re going to have a workforce of 13’s and 14’s (at least in the metropolitan DC area) that have the grade but not the technical underpinnings to perform their jobs and meet mission successfully.
And while we’re on the topic of training, try this one on for size … what if we didn’t have a separate certification process for Contracting and Program Management professionals? What if it was the same certification process for both? I think there is tremendous value in having the CO and PM develop intimate knowledge of the other’s role. Why not just certify them both as Acquisition Professionals (period) and leave the distinction between the two at the execution level?
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