by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
FCW : September 15, 2015
September 15, 2015 FCW.COM 23 Acquisition: Knowing enough to ask the right questions The acquisition system — the means by which the federal government buys billions of dol- lars of IT goods and services annually — is a popular whipping boy for lawmakers, officials and analysts. It is characterized as a long, bureaucratic process that is further complicated by the 1,000-plus pages of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. “The system is complicated, but you can definitely achieve success within that system,” said Joe Jordan, former administrator of the Office of Federal Procure- ment Policy and now CEO of FedBid. As maze-like as the FAR might seem, he added, “the vast majority of what’s in that book is just common sense.” Furthermore, one doesn’t need to be an IT guru to become a federal program manager in charge of buy- ing IT, Jordan said. An apprenticeship under an expe- rienced supervisor and some IT training can suffice. David Wennergren, who was assistant deputy chief management officer at the Defense Department from 2010 to 2013, said a program manager needs a baseline level of knowledge of commercial IT best practices to succeed. He added that he is concerned about the “dearth of new blood” in the IT government work- force. Half the contracting workforce has fewer than 10 years’ experience, and a quarter has less than five years’ experience, according to Wennergren, who is now senior vice president of technology at the Profes- sional Services Council. “So you have a contracting workforce that maybe hasn’t built up the confidence to try all the flexibilities the acquisition rules allow,” he said. As encouraging as the General Services Administra- tion’s 18F and the White House’s U.S. Digital Service are, there are nowhere near enough federal technology professionals for the government to do all of its IT development in-house, so IT-savvy acquisition experts will be essential, Wenner- gren added. He and Jordan agreed, how- ever, that contracting offices’ risk aversion is a far greater impedi- ment to success than a lack of IT know-how. Asking the right questions Federal contracting officers might not need to be able to moonlight as IT specialists, but they must be able to ask federal contractors the right questions. “With a federal IT budget that’s worth $80 billion, there’s no way” the government can get into the nitty- gritty details of all those IT system and service pro- curements, Wennergren said. BY SEAN LYNGAAS AND MARK ROCKWELL “The system is complicated, but you can definitely achieve success within that system.” JOE JORDAN, FEDBID 0915fcw_016-025.indd 23 8/24/15 4:26 PM
August 30, 2015
September 30, 2015