Achieving Acquisition Success: Create a Great Source Selection “Playbook”

This part of our series addresses how to mitigate risks throughout the acquisition process

The most common reasons for a successful client protest are as follows: acquisitions team not maintaining adequate documentation, errors in conducting discussions with offerors, flaws in the price evaluation and not adhering to the established criteria. The key in mitigating risks throughout the acquisition process is to have a well-defined acquisition strategy and to follow the plan.

Documentation is key to defending the award decision. Often times, evaluation teams believe that less documentation will decrease the chance for errors. In our experience, we found that a well-documented plan provides greater protection from protests.

A detailed communication plan is essential to ensuring fair and equal treatment amongst all offerors. This does not necessarily mean that the evaluation is done in isolation—in fact, the more transparent the process is and the earlier you involve industry, the more you reduce the risk of issues in the source selection phase. 

In order to ensure that the pricing is done correctly, it is crucial to have a well-documented plan in place. A clear bid model provided to the offerors, although this causes a front-heavy workload for the government team, becomes beneficial in the long run by making the vendor’s proposals easier to evaluate.

Lastly, the most common of the four reasons for a successful protest is not adhering to the stated evaluation criteria. The key to avoiding this fatal mistake is to have a clearly defined set of evaluation ground rules and to share those ground rules with the team before starting the evaluation. No matter how many evaluations the team members have worked on, each evaluation is unique and requires its own set of processes. If changes are made during the evaluation process, it is critical that an amendment be posted and the offerors have a chance to respond to the changes. 

Remember, create a great acquisition playbook, and follow through on the plan to ensure successful acquisition outcomes.

All four parts of the series can be found at the links below or get a PDF copy here.
Noblis Expert

Bill Morris

Bill is the leader of the Noblis Acquisition Tools Center of Excellence.
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Carolyn Rathburn discusses how creating a great acquisition playbook, and following through on the plan ensures successful acquisition outcomes.  
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