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alliant2 update
GSA Interact predicts that the final RFP date for the mammoth Alliant program will not be released until this fall. Draft RFPs (DRFPs) for both the Alliant 2 Unrestricted and Small Business procurements are available on FedBizOpps.gov. Bloomberg Government quotes director Fornecker in tweeting that, “final RFPs are expected to be released this fiscal year.” Many commentators feel the final RFP will not come out until after the first of the year.  
Net net of all this is that bidders still have time to correct deficiencies, fill gaps, complete team building, and generally do those things required to be positioned to win.  
multiple awardsRecently Bloomberg Government (BGOV) hosted a meeting with contractors and the government focused on the importance of MACs to the Federal Government spending process. For fiscal 2014 BGOV reported one in four contract dollars flowed through a MAC with a total of $115 billion. BGOV also reported that MAC sales favored services over product purchases.
 
Starting in the early 1990s the government began to promote the use of MACS as a way to simplify their buying processes.  Use for DoD acquisitions has grown steadily since them.   More recently, Civilian agencies have also expanded use of MACs for their acquisitions based on their unique missions. This trend continues on the up swing as both the Air Force and Army have signed MOUs with GSA OASIS, a major new GWAC/ MAC.
stopThe federal proposal industry is being hit with a new challenge – more start – stop situations than before.  This includes bidders that start the proposal and then stop due to a delay or the cancellation of the program.  Reasons causing this situation are believed to include the general market environment, such as pressure to do less with more on the part government and contractors.  It is predicted this situation may continue until the Government market improves, which some analysts say may be in 2018.
 
proposalsIn the Federal Proposal world we all understand that a bidder must be compliant to the proposal requirements under Section L-Instructions, Conditions and Notices to Bidders. Compliance is why you as a winning contractor have a Proposal Professional on staff or have a go to Staff Augmentation firm like OCI on your rolodex. But it never ceases to amaze me that bidders who spend thousand of dollars either internally or externally on bid preparation do so without a compliance matrix or compliance outline and a proposal calendar with due dates to complete the proposal in a compliant manner.
 
Understanding Section L and how Section M-Evaluation of Factors for Award may conflict each other is as important as a complete understanding of Section C-Performance Work Statement / Statement of Work. We all want to know how we will be evaluated at our own job, so it is understandable to want to know how your bid will be evaluated against your peers. I also find it amazing that the RFPs from the government use the term “Capability” and “Experience” when what they really want is “Proof of Experience.”  Which takes me to one of my favorite Poems by Rudyard Kipling-

9 Ways to Win More Proposals This SummerHere are nine things you can do to win more proposals this year:

1. Start with a well-defined solution.
2. Invest enough in production so your proposal will look like a winner.
3. Use price to win (PTW) analysis – you can’t do without this any longer?
4. Stock your refrigerator with good things for late night workers.
5. Provide whatever type or amount of award you can afford to winning proposal teams.
6. Get executive buy-in in advance so you can be assured of the needed resources
7. Figure out a way to either use your process better or start one if you don’t have it already.
8. If you are not one of those rare groups that starts early, start your process one week earlier.
9. Schedule enough time to respond to the findings of the color team.

ITES-3S and ADMC-3 Save The DateArmy CHESS Industry Day for ITES-3S and ADMC-3 is scheduled for Wednesday, June 10th at Fort Belvoir, VA. Only preregistered attendees will be admitted. Register at http://www.cvent.com/d/mrq26n/.

These Army Multi-award, IDIQ vehicles are in their 3rd generation and will be valued at $12 Billion with the RFP release estimated for September.

There are 24 new service areas under ITES-3S which include everything from Benchmarking and Operational Capability Demonstrations to IT Research and Development under NACIS 541519.

how to get the timeHave you ever felt you could have written a much better proposal if the customer had only allowed more time? But what can you do if there is no draft RFP?

A good choice is to develop a Mock RFP. This gives you a specific target to crystalize your thinking. It helps you systematically think through each facet of your solution and identify your gaps while there is still time to fill them.

Start by finding related RFPs. The best is the old RFP. GovWin is a good source to find old RFPs. The Statement of Work in that old RFP can provide a useful starting point.

How many times have all of us heard the bitter lament, “This year RFP releases are slipping to the right worse than ever before.”? At a recent trade meeting, competitors were expressing the view that the change in the market caused by Sequestration has made program releases slower than before. This study is first in a series undertaken in an attempt to answer the question with empirical evidence. Are programs really slipping more? Or is this just an illusion shared by many of us who are frustrated by delays that are a common pattern of the market?

OCI hosted it’s second in a series of seminars targeted for private sector professionals developing solutions and proposals to the Federal government. The event took place at the Tower Club, Tysons Corner, Virginia on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Former government executives Pat Schambach and Jim Williams (Schambach & Williams Consulting LLC) along with Mark Tolbert PMP, Best Practices Team LLC spoke on the topic Ensure Success on your next IT Program.

Schambach and Williams reviewed the “7-S for Success” a framework developed by ACT-IAC an association of leaders in government and industry highlighting the many lessons learned and critical success factors for major IT programs. With their may years of experience on both sides of the topic a number of past and current programs were explored. The audience was noticeably impressed with the speaker’s depth on the topic as well as the comprehensive yet easy to apply 7-S’s for Success framework.

Schambach additionally provide a dashboard based on key program metrics that he had developed and successfully used during his time as a Senior Business Leader at a major federal contractor.

Mark Tolbert, PMP followed with a provocative and passionate discussion Starting Projects off on the right foot: Dealing with our modern world of seemingly Impossible Demands and Constraints.

Mark explored the challenges project managers have in initiating and planning projects properly.

Waterfall, Agile and hybrid approaches were discussed along with simple metaphors that helped make a complex topic easy for the attendees to digest. Tolbert was obvisiouly well versed on the topic with years of practice both as a project manager , coach and teacher on the topics presented.

Presentations can be found here: 

Ensure Success on your next IT Program (From Government perspective)

Ensure Success on your next IT Program (From Provider perspective)

Starting Projects off on the right foot: Dealing with our modern world of seemingly Impossible Demands and Constraints

 

helpful tipsOCI is partnering with FedSavvy Strategies to help HCaTS bidders. FedSavvy Strategies’ principal – Brian Lindholm – has a deep background in the HCaTS program, while OCI has a large bench of consultants qualified to help prepare a winning HCaTS proposal.

Overview to Winning HCATS
The Human Capital and Training Services (HCaTS) opportunity represents an exciting development for any business delivering human capital, training and development, and organizational process improvement. HCaTS is – for all intents and purposes – a follow-on contract to the legacy Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Training and Management Assistance (TMA) contract.

Based on some very conservative estimates, we believe this contract could reach around $242 million per year in contract spending. We think this figure is realistic based on the fact that HCaTS is mostly a replacement for the OPM TMA contract and its scope is expanding. Consider HCaTS probable value against an annual addressable market value of nearly $2 billion per year for Training and Human Capital Solutions.

Your decision to pursue HCaTS should take into consideration what alternative contracts your existing and targeted customers currently utilize. Will HCaTS be used in your customers’ acquisition strategy or will it merely be seen as yet another multiple award IDIQ contract?