“Myth-busting 3” Further Improving Industry Communication with Effective Debriefings

May 11, 2017

by Shelley Hall

On January 5, 2017, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) issued a memorandum discussion the best practices to “maximize the return on its acquisition investment and to ensure access to high-quality solutions” through the effective use of debriefings.

In December 2014, the OFPP sent out a memo outlining a series of “myths” about federal contracting.  One of the “myths” addressed the need to increase communications between the agency and industry.

Per the most recent memo, “debriefings afford offerors on a competitive solicitation an explanation of the evaluation process, an assessment of their proposal in relation to the evaluation criteria, a general understanding of the basis of the award decision, and the rationale for exclusion from the competition.”

OFPP suggests that agencies establish or adopt debriefing guides if they do not already have them.  Additionally, agencies are encouraged to post any debriefing guidance, training tools, or materials by March 1, 2017 and share debriefing instructions with current and potential industry partners, including those new to federal procurement.

The Appendix to the January 2017 memo contains “Misconceptions and Facts about the Debriefing Process” which anyone planning on doing business with the federal government should read.

This is a good step forward because communication is so important during the source selection process – starting with the sources sought synopsis and continuing throughout the life of the contract once awarded.

If everyone doesn’t understand the requirement, scope, risks, evaluation factors, etc., it is impossible to conduct a source selection that will result in award to the offeror who represents the true best value to the government.

If you are a contractor, ask questions throughout the process.  Request debriefings (even if you are the awardee!).  This is how you learn what you did well and what you did not so well.  Every lesson learned is another rung in your ladder to success.

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