Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to join over 100 industry experts in federal procurement and business processes who participated in an inaugural meeting of the Professional Services Council’s (PSC) Acquisition & Business Policy Council. The newly appointed Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), Anne Rung, delivered the keynote address. The timing and the audience for Ms. Rung’s presentation could not have been more perfect! She gave us a preview of her first memo as OFPP Administrator and by doing so, had an opportunity to test drive some of the ideas that can now be found in that document. The audience (myself included) was very receptive to the bold new agenda laid out by the Administrator. We all agree that much improvement is needed in the way the Government buys goods and services and therefore this initiative aimed at improving acquisition talent development and increasing efficiency through innovation is both timely and well conceived.
The memo outlines three focus areas for OFPP: Category Management; Acquisition Workforce Talent Development; and Stronger Vendor Relationships. The category management initiative is linked to the work of the Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council (SSLC). Some 50 categories across ten commonly purchase goods and services have been created to streamline procurement. The vendor management element of Ms. Rung’s road map is focused on improving communication with industry, increasing information sharing about contracts, and establishing enterprise-wide vendor manager.
As acquisition training practitioner, I was keenly interested in what OFPP proposes as a way to improve acquisition workforce skills through training and certification. It was encouraging to learn about OFPP’s focus on creating teams of experts who will serve as “SWAT teams” in a particular area of acquisition. Deeper dive into that level of specialization is a great idea! In this, industry can be a valuable resource for OFPP by bringing innovation and experience to SWAT teams.
I was also encouraged by Ms. Rung discussing the need to improve fundamentals of federal procurement, starting with writing better SOWs and SOOs. This need on the enterprise-wide policy level resonates extremely well with what we are experiencing in agency-level trenches of acquisition training. In fact, Effective Writing for Acquisition has been one of Centre’s most in-demand classes in FY’14. And in FY’15 this trend continues… our newest customer is rolling out their agency’s acquisition training program with a course – you guessed it – Writing Statements of Work!
Those are all very positive signs and we wish Ms. Rung and her team much success in this bold endeavor.