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Services Acquisition

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General Information

The services acquisition process starts with a validated mission requirement for a service effort. The process continues through a planning phase, which develops the foundation for defining your requirement and business strategy, and ultimately ends with the delivery and assessment of the services provided.

Refer to https://aaf.dau.edu/ that shows the Acquisition of Service pathway under the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF). 

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Refer to the Service Acquisition Mall to see the seven-step performance based process for services acquisition. It shows the seven-step process used by requiring activities, acquisition professionals, and contracting officer's representatives (CORs).

The Planning phase (steps 1 through 3) lays the foundation for action. During this phase, the acquisition team is formed and leadership support is arranged for all actions required to ensure the mission is supported. Current service strategies are baselined and analyzed, problem areas and projected mission changes identified, and key performance outcomes for the requirement identified by stakeholders. The marketplace is analyzed to assess current technology and business practices, competition and small business opportunities, existing and potential new sources of providing the service, and possible adaption of commercial buying practices.

During the Development Phase (steps 4 and 5), the requirements roadmap process is used to define performance objectives and standards, allowable variations, and methods of inspection. After the roadmap is completed, the performance work statement (PWS) and quality assurance surveillance plan (QASP) can be developed. Also during this phase, funding sources are identified, the government cost estimate of the required service is developed, and industry feedback on the working documents is solicited. Finally, an acquisition strategy is synthesized to leverage contract type and performance incentives for delivering best value mission performance to the customer. The basic principle is to tell the contractor what the Government’s performance objectives are rather than how to accomplish the work. Industry is relied upon to develop the solution.

In the Execution Phase (steps 6 and 7), all planning and development efforts are put into action. A solicitation document is developed that formally communicates the requirements and business plan to industry. Contractor proposals are evaluated against the established criteria for meeting performance objectives; the proposal(s) that has the best chance for successfully meeting the Government’s objectives is selected. After contract award, the service provider becomes the Government’s strategic partner for driving innovation and improvements to mission performance outcomes. This part of the process involves two key areas:administering contract requirements (such as invoicing and payments) and managing the relationships and expectations of both the contractor and customer for meeting the contract terms and achieving the required mission performance results. As the execution phase progresses, planning for a follow on acquisition (if needed) is begun.

To be considered truly performance-based, a services acquisition should contain (at minimum) the following elements:

  • Performance work statement (PWS). Describes the requirement in terms of measurable outcomes rather than by specific, prescriptive methods.
  • Measurable performance standards. To determine whether performance outcomes have been met, measurable performance standards define what is considered acceptable performance.
  • Incentives/Disincentives (monetary and non-monetary). These address how to manage performance that exceeds, or fails to meet, establish performance standards. While not mandatory, incentives should be used (when appropriate) to encourage performance that exceeds the performance standards.
  • Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP). Describes how the government will assess contractor performance against the performance standards contained in the PWS.