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5 keys to improving federal procurement

Guest post from FCW Editor-in-Chief John Monroe.

Rather than bringing more innovation to the acquisition process, the federal government would be better off just trying to get the basics right, according to one reader.

The reader, signed as KRL, was responding to a recent post by FCW blogger and columnist Steve Kelman, who was defending the use of procurement contests or challenges as a low-risk way to solicit new ideas.

KRL, a seasoned veteran of the federal acquisition business, is not against innovation, per se. It’s just that eventually the federal government will need to focus on dealing with more fundamental problems in the procurement process.

“In my 27 years, we have come full circle so many times from the concept of 'innovation' back to the basics in the FAR that I sometimes get dizzy,” KRL writes. “Is today an innovation day or a back-to-basics day?”

The reader outlines five such fundamentals:

1) Hire people who know what they are doing and provide continuous training.
2) Hire outstanding young people then have the ‘grey hairs’ train and mentor them well.
3) Emphasize the importance of well-planned projects.
4) Encourage well-executed projects.
5) Get the politicians out of federal procurement.

KRL is particularly insistent on that last point. “Politicians have no clue how the system works much less what is in the FAR, and their constant playing with funding of programs is the primary cause of wasted dollars as they abuse the system.”

What do you think?

Posted on Sep 02, 2011 at 12:18 PM


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