Acquisition

GSA makes awards for long-awaited agile BPA

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After a long wait and multiple delays, the General Services Administration's 18F agile blanket purchase agreement is up and running.

In announcing the awards on Aug. 28, 18F's consulting team praised 16 successful vendors for their delivery of "amazing, working software" in response to a request for quotations.

Unlike typical contract vehicles, the agile BPA sought to pool GSA Schedule 70 vendors for rapid agile or DevOps work on 18F and partner agency projects, and would-be vendors had to offer a functional project, not just a proposal, to seal the deal.

The 16 vendors to win a slot on the BPA are:

  1. Acumen Solutions
  2. Applied Information Sciences
  3. Booz Allen Hamilton
  4. DSoft Technology
  5. Environmental Systems Research Institute
  6. Flexion
  7. NCI Information Systems
  8. PricewaterhouseCoopers Public Sector
  9. SemanticBits
  10. TechFlow
  11. TeraLogics
  12. Three Wire Systems
  13. True Tandem
  14. Vencore Services and Solutions
  15. Ventera
  16. World Wide Technology

The process was not entirely smooth, however. Overwhelmed by questions about the novel BPA, 18F pushed back the deadline for the RFQ not once but twice.

"Before the RFQ release, we held a presolicitation conference so we could preview the RFQ to vendors and answer questions, with the goal of reducing the questions during the official Q&A period," the 18F team wrote. "Despite that, after the release, hundreds more questions still poured in -- mostly on technical or contracting issues. To respond to this volume, we missed our own answer deadline, and that ended up pushing back the vendors' deadline to respond."

The team thanked the Federal Acquisition Service for working through the issues with them.

18F officials admitted to being frustrated by the delay but claimed to have learned valuable lessons from the process.

"We think we were successful in demonstrating some solid innovation with the award process, but we've got a long way to go now before we can declare success on what really matters: demonstrating the ability to partner with industry to deliver successful digital services to our customers using agile delivery practices," they wrote. "In other words, as with the rest of 18F, delivery is the strategy, and now we're looking forward to shipping under the BPA."

Officials also pledged that other vendors would be afforded on-boarding opportunities in the future.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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Reader comments

Mon, Aug 31, 2015 Filippo Reston

We're excited to receive the GSA BPA and continue taking part in the federal government's journey toward Agile software development. GSA has taken an innovative approach to Agile contracting. 18F's "show-me" RFP is focused on selecting contractors based on outcomes and results.

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