Extension Expectation vs Recompete Preparation

  |  February 8, 2016

Don’t delay your recompete preparations on the expectation of an extension

Expecting to get an extension and then being surprised by an announcement that the official recompete is starting has happened to more incumbents than it should. And the resulting lack of recompete preparation wastes many of the advantages you should have as the incumbent and puts your recompete at risk.
Even if you are being given messages from your customer that you will get an extension, don’t assume that this will happen and delay the start of your recompete preparations. Things can change at the last minute, or the customer contact you are getting your information from might not be the decision maker or might not have a full insight into the process.
Start your recompete preparations early, whether you expect an extension or not. Don’t count on an extension until you have the customer’s signed official confirmation that the extension has been granted.

Use your recompete preparation process to inform your extension negotiations

Your recompete preparations should include 4 general streams of work:
1. Reviewing your existing contract
2. Building better and broader customer relationships
3. Understanding what changes the customer will put into the next contract
4. Creating an outline solution for the new contract

All of these streams will also help you in your conversations with the customer about getting an extension:

• Understanding how you have performed and what has happened on the contract to date will support (assuming you have delivered well) your argument that an extension is warranted
• Those making the extension decision won’t just be those managing your contract day to day. By building a better relationship with these people you are more likely to get a positive response to the idea of an extension
• By understanding the customer’s future needs you can put conversations about an extension into the context of these
• Having an idea of how you would meet these needs can be one way to offer something new or improved in the extension period


Don’t be surprised by assuming you will get an extension to your contract, and as a result delaying the start of your recompete preparations. You might not get the expected extension, in which case you have lost a lot of time and opportunity to prepare, and put your recompete success at risk.
And by taking the actions you would do anyway in preparing for your recompete early, you are also doing the things which will support your negotiations about, and chances of, getting an extension. So your work won’t be wasted, and could be the thing that leads to an extension being granted.

Note: Article author Nigel Thacker is a proposal consultant in the UK specializing in recompetes. He is arguably the leading authority in the world on recompetes.


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    Brandon Conroy

    What reasons would a contracting office have (other than poor performance) to forego an option period and recompete a contract early?