Sitting in on the Procurement 2.0 session at the Expo, discussing the evolution of the Better Buy Project. The session is being masterfully moderated by Chris Dorobek.
Chris Hamm, GSA:
– Used IdeaVoice
– Top Idea: “Put an end to dump of ‘end of year’ procurements”
– Another idea: Work out requirements on a wiki – this is the one they implemented
– Before the wiki existed: “we’d find smartest person on the topic, lock them in room, produce reqs in vacuum”
– For everything gov’t buys, there are a number of companies with strong motivation to contribute to req process
– The wiki changed what the government was going to buy – lengthened time, but improved quality
– Getting the word out: media push, but also followed the normal procedures
– Posted updates via Twitter…but not ingrained in our culture…
– This is a pilot exercise and we’re asking: “Did it provide value?”
– The very nature of this pilot forces collaboration in a way that didn’t exist before.
– Other questions: who is authorized to speak on behalf of government? Technical or acquisition side?
– Looking at how we interact during procurement process itself – Skype, Ustream, Webchat vehicles – if someone can’t log in, is that grounds for protest, etc.?
Lisa Grant, GSA:
– Important to provide transparency in the process, but privacy to the vendors
– Why important to maintain privacy of vendors? They don’t want to ‘tip their hand,’ lose competitive advantage
– First step prior to launch, posted Request for Information through eBuy, directed them to wiki
– When I think about it contractually, one benefit: able to see suggestions, input to our requirement that would help us develop a better solicitation package – from that perspective, thumbs up
– From research gathering perspective, didn’t get as much information as usual…so thumbs down there.
– We’ll provide a little more detail in the future as we tweet along the way
– For Data.gov, the req was not as clearly defined nor was acquisition strategy…talked about vehicles a lot
– Questions we posted were to be helpful in that process…
– We were cognizant of “protest possibility,” so we were careful
– Didn’t tweet anything that would change procurement itself; sought input from industry
– With 25 years of experience, “it makes me very nervous to have such an open forum, but helped my folks to create their package”…so sees the value.
Susan Turpyn, Unisys
– With this wiki environment, you can still largely see what everyone is posting
– Have a moderator who removes certain comments
– On contractor side, equally inefficient with multiple teams and stakeholders
– At first, we took content of the wiki and used same process: print it out, pass it around, etc.
– BUT then we tried something new: we cloned the wiki for ourselves…leading to internal culture change!
– Closing question: how do we continue to improve collaboration process b/t industry/government?
– There has to be a way where if you share a comment, get a response back…more like dialogue.
Michael Carroll, GSA
– We were looking for cost estimates and structures on front side, but industry was hesitant
– Has tremendous potential for market research: a) didn’t have to know resources, brought them to us; b) was self-documenting…did a lot of the work for us.
Kevin Merritt, Socrata
– I’d like to see the full loop: transparency from requirements through award and post-award
– GSA was looking to round out requirements
– There were a few wrinkles that we needed to improve:
– Poker analogy: advantages based on where you sit…holds true for wiki; people wait for others to “show hand”
– At first, delay in contractor response while they determined their strategic approach
– For us in industry: What question is being asked by GSA? What was added by someone in industry?
– I would encourage folks to think: how do you create process that doesn’t eliminate value creation aspect?