Press | November 7, 2014

It’s the Requirements, Stupid

FCW

It’s the Requirements, Stupid

By Steve Kelman
Originally published by FCW.

I took part in a recent panel discussion at an employee professional development program on the past, present, and future of government contracting. The most interesting panelist was someone I had never met before named Derrick Moreira, who works for a small firm called Censeo.

Moreira suggested (and I agree) that poor requirements — i.e., the government’s statement in a request for proposals about what it wants the eventual contractor to provide — often result from an effort to get through a procurement as quickly as possible, without thinking through whether the contract, once awarded, will succeed. At best, this creates extra costs and wasted time down the road, as the government realizes what it asked for isn’t what it wants, and that the requirements need to be renegotiated — now in a non-competitive environment that is less favorable to the government. (Contract changes are inevitable on any complex, lengthy contract because the world changes and upfront knowledge is imperfect, but that raises separate questions.)

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