The Contracting Officer Podcast 2.0

Kevin Jans and Paul Schauer created The Contracting Officer Podcast to help both government and industry acquisition professionals understand more about how the other side thinks.

As former Federal Contracting Officers who have also walked in industry’s shoes, Kevin and Paul share their expertise and perspectives in support of the podcast’s mission: Make government contracting better, one contract at a time.

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  1. The Contracting Officer Podcast 2.0 Access Here
    • All 440+ episodes of The Contracting Officer Podcast and new weekly episodes
    • The Podcast 2.0 Forum (ask questions and request topics)
    • Curated Playlists
    • Monthly Newsletter
  2. The Contracting Officer’s Point of View — Learn More
    • In these live sessions, Kevin Jans covers a variety of topics helping you thrive in all areas of GovCon with Q&A , making it interactive and effective.

The Contracting Officer Podcast Hall of Fame Episodes

001: The Contracting Officer Podcast Origin Story

Companies need help. They are awash in information (and data),but they are starving for insights on the COs’ perspective. As contracting officers, we saw so many companies overwhelmed by the rules, the process, the seemingly limitless options and the shear volume of opportunities in the market. They were, and still are, looking for insights to help them better understand how our federal government’s processes work. We created this podcast to improve the acquisition process by sharing COs’ collective perspective.

Contracting officers need help. They are awash in information (and data), but are starving for insights on the contractors’ perspective. Since leaving our contracting officers positions, we see how some of our actions as COs, while well-intended, impacted companies in ways we did not know. We wish we knew then what we know now. We also created this podcast to offer COs some insights on the contractors’ perspective.

We want to “be the change we wish to see in the world”.
Many say that the procurement system needs more regulation(or less), or more oversight (or less), or more funding (or less),or more people (or fewer), and so on. We decided we’d start with more communication (not less).

003: Acquisition Time Zones

Kevin and Paul provide an overview of the Acquisition Time Zones. The Acquisition Time Zones are a foundational concept of the podcast. Each zone aligns to a phase of the government acquisition process. The Acquisition Time Zones help our listeners understand how the content discussed in each podcast fits into the overall government acquisition process.

The Acquisition Time Zones are, in chronological order:

  • The Requirements Zone (Episode 012)
  • The Market Research Zone (Episode 013)
  • The Request for Proposal (or “RFP”) Zone (Episode 014)
  • The Source Selection Zone (Episode 015)

This episode provides a brief overview of each zone. The episodes above dive into the details of when the zones begin and end, what types of communication are allowed, and what government and industry professionals are doing (and thinking) during each zone.

004 – Why do RFPs take so long?

Ever wonder why it takes, or at least feels like it takes, so long to get an RFP out sometimes? In this session, we discuss what the government team is doing while contractors wait for the RFP to come out. We talk about schedule drives, mandatory reviews and approvals, documentation time, the relationship between the complexity of the requirement and that of the acquisition plan, and others. We share some of our experiences on why we took “so long” to get things done as COs. The requirement is the “what.”

084: The Execution Time Zones

Kevin and Paul introduce the Execution Zones, helpful way to envision where and how certain topics fit into the Government contracting world. (execution as in “contract performance”, not as in…you know, the other connotation) The Execution Zones are the post-award companions to the Acquisition Time Zones and are referenced in many episodes.

Much like the Acquisition Time Zones, the Execution Zones are cyclical, but using contract award the as “beginning” is the easiest way to think about them. Starting with contract award, we enter the Honeymoon Zone. Learn what happens during the first days and weeks after contract award and why a contract kickoff meeting is valuable for both sides.

Following the Honeymoon Zone, the continuum moves through the Performance Zone, the Re-Compete Zone, and the Wrap-up Zone before circling back to the Honeymoon Zone for the next contract.

Learn when to begin the capture and business development process for your next award. Learn when Government acquisition experts begin their market research. The basic flow of contract execution and administration is explained. This episode is a quick overview of each zone, so stay tuned for future episodes for deeper insight on each Execution Zone!

118: The 3 Deciders

Who makes the decision to purchase something for the Government? The answer depends on many factors, but is usually quite different from how an acquisition decision is made in your personal life or the non-Government world.

Kevin and Paul discuss the 3 main “deciders” in Government acquisition and relate them to easily recognizable roles. Money, needs, and the authority/ability to make a transaction.

Learn who has the power in each Acquisition Timezone and why it is important for both Government and Industry to recognize how the power can shift.

208: What is LTPA?

Kevin and Paul return to the topic of source selections and discuss one side of the “best value continuum”. Low Price, Technically Acceptable (LPTA) is a source selection process that is appropriate when best value is expected to result from selection of the technically acceptable proposal with the lowest evaluated price.

Learn how the efficiency of the LPTA process can benefit both Government and Industry (when used appropriately) and the limitations that come with this type of source selection.

221: Using IDIQ Contracts Part 1/4

This is Part 1 of our mini-series on the “Fair Opportunity” process. Kevin and Paul discuss the difference between FAR Part 15 and FAR Part 16.5 competitions beginning with an overview of Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts. Learn why the flexibility offered by multiple award IDIQ contracts has increased their popularity and how that flexibility has been used successfully and sometimes not so successfully.

272: Flossing your contracts

Contract administration is like flossing your teeth. Best to do it on a regular basis. If you skip it for a while you may not notice any pain right away, but you can bet that there will be pain later. A little time and money spent now prevents major expenditures down the road.

Kevin and Paul discuss the kinds of pain you can largely avoid through regular “contract hygiene”.

318: The GAS Gauge

We all progress through stages as we make a decision to purchase a product or service. If the buyer and seller aren’t in sync we end up missing a sale or potentially making a poor decision about what to purchase and who to purchase it from.

Kevin and Paul describe the stages and explain why getting to the final stage (a contract) can be more difficult in the GovCon world than in the commercial business to business (B2B) world.

331: The GovCon Cube

Kevin and Paul introduce the GovCon Acquisition Cube, a concept designed to help you understand how all the parts and pieces of a government acquisition fit together to result in a contract award. (Or awards)

383: Process to Relationship Ratio

Kevin and Paul return to the balance between process and relationships in the GovCon world. Every government acquisition follows a published process and also requires some type of relationship between buyer and seller, whether it is as simple as a website or as complicated as a utilizing lobbyists and influencing legislative decisions.

What level of relationship is appropriate? What is too much or too little? Listen and gain perspective on how award decisions are made in this continuation of a regular Contracting Officer Podcast theme.

399: The 3 Doers

In this “companion episode” to The 3 Deciders, Kevin and Paul discuss how roles change after contract award (during The Execution Time Zones®) and describe how the contractor becomes part of the team of “doers” required to deliver the products or services successfully.