From building levees to expanding a hospital, the projects delivered by procurement professionals representing eight federal agencies at the 2017 Federal Owners’ Forum were certainly challenging. Their projects may seem vastly different; however, the challenges the Owners faced in delivering those projects were incredibly similar. Among those challenges were shifting priorities, resource and budget constraints, differing mandates and an often-unpredictable funding/appropriations process.
To assist agencies in addressing these challenges, the Design-Build Institute of America and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) have joined forces to host a series of federal forums. At these events, officials from a diverse group of federal agencies come together for a day of in-depth discussions geared toward finding ways to improve the federal project delivery process. This year’s conversation was geared toward helping federal agencies ensure they have the right tools, the right people and the right processes to enhance project delivery.
Among the suggested improvements discussed by agency procurement officials were:
- Create uniform regulatory definitions across agencies
- Define the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) as the tool it was designed to be
- Streamline reporting requirements
- Increase training for agency staff
- Reform the contracts process
- Reform the protest process
- Host an additional DBIA Federal Owners’ Forum, to include legal counsel
- Improve inter-agency communication
- Standardize forms
- Reform the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) and improve CPARS education
There are consistent themes which emerged from the 2017 Federal Owners’ Forum among procurement and contracting attendees, which mirrored DBIA’s 2016 discussion with their counterparts in the design and construction realm. Simply put, an agency needs the right tools, the right people and the right processes to deliver high-quality, innovative and successful projects. But that’s not enough. They also need a culture of collaboration that spreads across the agency and outside the walls to the contracting community. DBIA is continuing our work to help spread that collaboration, communication and integration universally across the federal government’s many diverse agencies.
You can find the full summary report on our website, but here are some of the highlights: