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PSM’s Role in Request for Proposal and Source Selection

PSM’s Role in Request for Proposal and Source Selection

PSM’s Role in Request for Proposal and Source Selection
Shawn Harrison

Armed with a well-developed, vetted, and approved requirement (e.g., Capability Development Document or equivalent), programmed funding, and direction from an Acquisition Decision Memorandum or equivalent from a previous milestone or decision point, the program team is ready to craft the development contract* RFP to support the Development RFP Decision Point. What is the role of the Product Support Manager (PSM)?

Guided by the program manager (PM) and contracting officer and with assistance from command or center functional office(s), the PSM casts a broad net among experts in the lead command, depot organizations, Defense Logistics Agency and Service supply activities, technical data package and technical manual managers, support and test equipment offices, etc. for inputs for the Statement of Work (SOW), Contract Data Requirements Lists (CDRLs), and special contract clauses. While recent products from similar acquisition should be consulted for best practices (what worked and what didn’t), this is no time for “boilerplating” (rote copying). Tailor-in your requirements using the most up to date requirements sources (e.g., standards, specifications, Data Item Descriptions, etc.). Be sure to tailor-in requirements for emerging areas such as digital product support, supply chain resiliency and risk management, data analytics, etc.

Advocate with the PM and contracting officer for tasks and data requirements they may initially reject by articulating the return on investment or consequences if omitted. Participate personally in or assign action officer(s) for market research, site surveys, industry days, Requests for Information (RFIs), and after the RFP is released and proposals received, the source selection itself. If not directly involved (which is always preferred), get briefed into the source selection and regularly meet with your designee(s). Ensure a thorough scrub of each proposal. Pinpoint weaknesses, deficiencies, and risks. Make recommendations based on fact, but don’t ignore your gut. There is no perfect contract. Many a development contract has been awarded with ambiguous terms like “production-ready support equipment,” overly optimistic schedules, and underpricing of certain contract line items (CLINs).

When the contract is awarded, celebrate with your team, then get to work getting ready for the kickoff and Integrated Baseline Review (IBR). Now the hard work begins … contract execution!

For other acquisition pathway phase-specific guidance for PSMs, consult the DoD PSM Guidebook. *Note: if using the Middle Tier of Acquisition pathway it’s likely an Other Transactions (OT) agreement will be developed and used in lieu of a contract.