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GCN : September 2015
[BrieFing] After a long wait and multiple delays, the General Services Administration’s 18F agile blanket purchase agreement is up and running. In announcing the awards on Aug. 28, 18F’s consulting team praised 16 successful vendors for their delivery of “amazing, working software” in response to a request for quotations. Unlike typical contract vehicles, the agile BPA sought to pool GSA Sched- ule 70 vendors for rapid agile or Dev- Ops work on 18F and partner agency projects, and would-be vendors had to offer a functional project, not just a proposal, to seal the deal. The process was not entirely smooth, however. Overwhelmed by questions about the novel BPA, 18F pushed back the deadline for the RFQ not once but twice. “Before the RFQ release, we held a presolicitation conference so we could preview the RFQ to vendors and answer questions, with the goal of reducing the questions during the official Q&A period,” the 18F team wrote. “Despite that, after the release, hundreds more questions still poured in — mostly on technical or contract- ing issues. To respond to this volume, we missed our own answer deadline, and that ended up pushing back the vendors’ deadline to respond.” The team thanked the Federal Ac- quisition Service for working through the issues with them. 18F officials admitted to being frustrated by the delay but claimed to have learned valuable lessons from the process. “We think we were successful in demonstrating some solid innovation with the award process, but we’ve got a long way to go now before we can declare success on what really mat- ters: demonstrating the ability to part- ner with industry to deliver successful digital services to our customers using agile delivery practices,” they wrote. “In other words, as with the rest of 18F, delivery is the strategy, and now we’re looking forward to shipping under the BPA.” Officials also pledged that other vendors would be afforded on-board- ing opportunities in the future. • GSA makes awards for long-awaited agile BPA BY ZACH NOBLE IOWAPUBLICRADIO.ORG 6 GCN SEPTEMBER 2015 • GCN.COM “We think we were successful in demonstrating some solid innovation with the award process, but we’ve got a long way to go now before we can declare success on what really matters.” 18F TEAM • Acumen Solutions • Applied Information Sciences • Booz Allen Hamilton • DSoft Technology • Environmental Systems Research Institute • Flexion • NCI Information Systems • PricewaterhouseCoopers Public Sector • SemanticBits • TechFlow • TeraLogics • Three Wire Systems • True Tandem • Vencore Services and Solutions • Ventera • World Wide Technology The 16 vendors to win a slot on the BPA are: 0915gcn_006-011.indd 6 9/3/15 9:01 AM