Lessons learned from the government’s biggest attempt to fix tech procurement
Eric Hysen

I worked in a Basket PM office, we were responsible for many programs. I feel your pain. Just a few comments:

Contractors walk into Bid Opening with a smile (we’ll win!) and a protest letter in their pocket.

One project I was involved back in ’85 had little money to do the job to meet the requirements. The solution was to rank the requirements as Must Have, Should Have and Like To Have and told them the budget. Tells us what you can do with the funds available and that will be the Fixed Price contract. Knowing no more funds would be available and their proposal was the contract we did not have low balls and we did not accept requirements creep without money from the user.

For a time a contractor would bid low and win, and a larger one well known to us would buy them.

Congress sometimes leave poodle bombs for us. A major modification of a system was needed. We had bid opening and a firm we knew won. Then the apparent winner was pushed out two weeks later. A Congressman from NY wrote into law that Israeli companies had an additional 5% advantage on 8a contracts. No idea the law existed until their lawyer called and educated us. Big disappointment, they were a headache.

22 years in the PM business I retired and miss it. I’m seeing a shrink now.

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