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

Excellent article that brings out many things that we all know but rarely speak about in mixed company. Even pre-award I was thoroughly impressed with the level of innovation that was used in putting this procurement together and I strongly believed that your methodology was not only sound, but potentially game changing. Many great companies are beat out on a daily basis, in every sector, because they are up against great novelists rather than great technologists. I’ll take a technical challenge over a written proposal effort every single time because I know if I when that I have the capability you need and you know that I can do the job. That alone eliminates the 3–6 month renegotiation of what you really needed and what I can realistically do after the award is in place.

One thing you mentioned that I think all should understand around protests which is the 1% win rate of protests. Companies don’t protest to win the work in question (meaning winning the protest is rarely the goal). Companies protest to do one of two things, 1) if they are an incumbent on work that the contract is replacing or could replace, a protest delays the contract so that their current contracts have to be extended for additional terms, sometimes years, or 2) get rid of the contract that they lost, just so they have the ability to pursue again (often with an incorrect mindset that the Agency will award them next time around because they are prone to protesting). This practice is unethical, wastes taxpayer money, and most importantly hinders the mission of the agency.

Thank you for your service to our government and we need more like you and your team to continue to engage in moving efforts like this forward. This was the right way, lessons were learned and can be improved for next time, but this was not in my mind a failure, unless we just shrug and go back to the old ways that we know don’t work.

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