A protest is the formal process for offerors to challenge the way the government awards a contract. It’s like having check and balances built into the contracting “system”. However, protests tend to be sideways activity because the protest process neither moves the acquisition forward (so the contract can support the mission), nor does it move the acquisition backward (so the government and regroup, improve, and try again). Many times, protests just cause a delay in the contract award process (we talked about the impact and magnitude of these delays in Episode 421). Plus, the offeror who protested rarely ends up winning the contract they protested.
Given all that, what drives an offeror to protest? If we know it’s sideways activity, why go through the process? What’s motivates an offeror to protest – and what can both industry and government do about it?
After a few decades in GovCon, we’ve noticed some patterns in what motivates offerors to protests. We’ve distilled them down to 3 types of protestors. In this episode, we outline the What and How of the 3 types, along with what both government and industry can do to ensure we are making the best use of the protest process.