ASI's Thought Leadership
ASI was founded as the thought leader on acquisition--the intersection of budget, mission performance and procurement. We continue to lead as the source of unparalleled perspective and insight on trends and developments shaping how government acquires the capability to achieve outcomes. Two recent focus areas are acquisition effectiveness and innovation.
For example, we have published industry leading white papers and analyses and we're compiling the news, policies, regulations and legislation on category management and agile acquisition:
Category management is strategic approach and a continuous process that encompass the procurement spending of an entire organization. Its goals are to drive mission value by managing spending and producing savings. It requires the procurement organization to be tightly aligned with the agency's mission objectives. In addition, the whole organization must be engaged with, must participate in and must endorse category management for the approach to succeed.
Under category management, spending is segmented into master categories and subcategories that reflect the market. Applying the approach entails applying a broad range of tools and processes to the full lifecycle of products and services being managed. Among the tools and processes are spend analysis, demand management, strategic sourcing, supplier management, contract consolidation, standardization, requirements consolidation, ecommerce, spending aggregation and mapping suppliers to business needs.
Webinars, Video and Radio
- How Much Can Category Management Save the U.S. Government? Government Matters
- Do All New Roads to Federal IT Lead Through Category Management?
- How Category Management Will Change the Way You Perform Market Research
- Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and Acting Director, Office of IT Schedule Programs, Office of Integrated Technology Services, General Services Administration Kay Ely shares her insights on the evolution of federal acquistion and the latest initiatives for government-wide strategic solutions including the desktop and laptop procurement initiative.
- David Shields: The History and Promise of Category Management
- Category Management Has Arrived. Here’s what You Need to Know.
- Former U.K. Government Procurement Service Managing Director David Shields on Lessons from the U.K.: Developing a Category Management Strategy in Government
- GSA Professional Services Category Executive Tiffany Hixson on Implementing Category Management - A Closer Look at GSA's Professional Services Category
- Office of Federal Procurement Policy Deputy Administrator Lesley Field on What's Next for the Acquisition Workforce and Evolving OFPP Policies
- Assistant Commissioner, Office of Integrated Technology Services, General Services Administration Mary Davie on GSA's Integrated Technology Service
- Acting Assistant Commissioner, Office of Strategy and Management at the General Services Administration Laura Stanton on Category Management and Acquisition Gateway, GSA's online category management resource center
- At a Glance: OFPP and GSA Guidance on Implementing Government-Wide Category Management
- U.S. category management initiative seeks to persuade
- Building a Category Management Team: An Inside Look from GSA’s Professional Services Category Executive
- Category Management Aimed at Programs, Not Just Procurement
- "How to Be a More Effective IT Buyer," July 25, 2016, FCW
- "How to Avoid Vendor Problems and Reduce Costs," June 2, 2016, Government Executive
- “Knowledge Is Power in Software Purchasing,” May 27, 2016, Federal Computer Week
- “To Buy Better, Government Must Know What It Spends,” April 11, 2016, Federal Computer Week
- "Category Management Will Transform Government's Buying Behavior," March 21, 2016, Bloomberg Government
- "How to Tame the Software Beast" in Government Executive
- "Merging Common Purchases Makes Dollars and Sense" in Government Executive
- "Going Beyond Jack of All Trades" in Government Executive
- "Adjusting Government's Buying Habits" in Government Executive
- "Government Operations: Cost-Cut Champion" in Congressional Quarterly
Agile acquisition focuses on flexibility, quality, and ensuring involvement and outcomes for end users. Agile acquisition is based on deep contractor-client collaboration, short sprints of delivery that end with immediately usable products or services. It involves understanding the needs of end users and putting them into small, modular units of requirements.
Detailed specifications and product schema are replaced with user input, acceptance criteria and ultimately user acceptance. The approach has been used primarily to buy software development, but increasingly agile methods are being applied to other product and service purchases.
Because business acceptance of the product or service being delivered is critical to success in agile, subject matter experts and senior program managers alike should expect to work closely with the product owner, users and delivery team on a daily basis.
Performance-based contracting fits the agile acquisition approach. The user stories--which describe desired outcomes in terms of just-in-time requirements--can be best captured in a statement of objectives. Scope generally is not fixed in an agile acquisition, but rather is aligned with what can be accomplished within a fixed time and budget.
In an agile environment, the definition of "done" is a checklist of criteria a product or service must deliver. In the case of software development, the criteria are used evaluate a demonstration of the application. Customer satisfaction is the primary measure of performance and a working deliverable is the documentation.
- Teaching Digital Buyers to Transform Acquisition
- Buying Agile Without Jumping Through Hoops
- Get Agile, Fast!
Analysis and Training
Performance-Based Acquisition Toolkit
Outcomes Matter More Than Ever in Services Contracting
By Timothy W. Cooke
The second habit of Steven Covey's influential and long-lived book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is "begin with the end in mind." This is the fundamental tenet of outcome-oriented acquisition and its associated methodology, "The Seven Steps to Performance-Based Acquisition."
Performance-based acquisition is central to defense and civilian agency initiatives to improve the outcomes of the 63 percent of federal procurement spending that goes to acquire services, some $283 billion of the $447 billion in procurement in fiscal 2014.
For example, the Seven Steps are the foundation of the new Defense Department instruction for services contracting, which accounted for 53 percent of fiscal 2015 defense procurement. Similarly, the new governmentwide category management effort is building performance-based acquisition into the operating instructions for the Professional Services category.
VAO Webinar: Insiders Series Building Army Acquisition Collaboration Virtually, Through Data-sharing and Avatar Training
This August 18, 2016, Virtual Acquisition Office (VAO) webinar features special guest Matthew Meinert, Director, Virtual Contracting Enterprise (VCE), Department of the Army. Mr. Meinert will provide an overview of VCE and the primary tools used by Army Contracting Command and Army components to execute missions and manage contracting operations.
The Federal Aviation Administration's Acquisition Management System
This April 21, 2016, Virtual Acquisition Office (VAO) webinar addresses the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) Acquisition Management System (AMS) and features special guest Jeffrey Baker, manager of the acquisition oversight, control and reporting division in FAA's Office of Acquisition Policy and Oversight. Mr. Baker shares FAA's experiences developing AMS, the system foundational principles, and the agency's approach to acquisition reform.
The Federal Aviation Administration was exempted from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and created its own Acquisition Management System (AMS) in 1996. Now, 20 years later, the FAA is concluding a major review and update of the system, which has evolved continuously since it was created. Learn about the history, capabilities, experiences and lessons of life without the FAR in this FAA video, AMS2016.
Postaward Contract Administration and Management Toolkit
Steve Kelman, professor of public management at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), recently kicked off a discussion on ways to improve contract management in federal acquisition through his Federal Computer Week blog, "The Lectern." Kelman encouraged the government program and contracting communities, contractors, independent experts such at the Procurement Roundtable, organizations providing advice to the government on good contracting, and OFPP to join in the dialog. "There is a lot of money at stake in managing contracts well, or poorly. We cannot afford to do nothing," he noted.
For the past 20 years, ASI Government has provided the federal acquisition community guidance, tools, and insights on contract administration and results-oriented performance management. We recently reinvigorated our focus on contract management with our Virtual Acquisition Office (VAO) "Back to Basics" webinar series and publications devoted specifically to the latest best practices in the area. In an effort to support the discussion on improving contract management, we've made these resources available to the greater community.