The seven stages are:

  1.  Agency submissions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (typically due September 15)
  2. Submission of the President’s Budget to Congress (at the beginning of each congressional session, typically in January)
  3. Agency testimony to Congress
  4. Budget approval, through congressional actions (both Authorization and Appropriation bills)
  5. Agency creation of formal Procurement Plans for major procurements
  6. Release of solicitations (RFPs; RPQs; Requests for Bids, others)
  7. Contract Award and Notices to Proceed

A detailed discussion of each step is beyond the scope of this short paper. What can be accurately said is that each stage offers opportunities for your company to provide data and analysis (“White Papers”) that are consistent with your own company’s technical and/or management approach or solution. More specifically,

  • Strive to become involved as soon as possible, which means at the lower numbers in the list above.
  • Adopt the stance that you are providing your input in the role of a solid citizen, as much as an advocate for your approach or solution.
  • Act as a helpful and careful reader of Government documents, being quick to identify mistakes (in the most positive and helpful way), and, as appropriate, suggest fixes to those mistakes.

And finally, keep all your actions inside both the law and ethics. Consult your company attorney, or outside counsel, on the legalities. Typically, your Contracts Department has members who are knowledgeable about the legalities, but the Legal Department is your most reliable source. Your Ethics Department (in larger companies), or your Human Resources Department may have sources (in smaller companies). My own ultimate test is to ask myself, “Would I want my actions to be reported on the front page of tomorrow’s Washington Post?” If the answer is, “No”, then don’t do it.

This paper relies on the work of Gerald Francis, of GLF Associates, and was a part of a two-day course covering selected topics of business development, and jointly developed by Mr. Francis and the author.