The planning phase

Summary: The planning phase

  • The goals: The government’s goal in the planning phase is to develop a hypothesis for:
    • What they need
    • What they will buy to address the need
    • What success means for this acquisition
    • The acquisitions process that will best meet their needs
  • When it starts and ends: The planning phase starts when the government identifies a need and ends when they share their hypothesis with industry (typically through an RFI, RFP, or Sources Sought). But acquisitions is not a straight line and the government may go back to planning if they discover their hypothesis is wrong (e.g. they discover that their articulation of the need or solution requirements are wrong).

The key activities during the planning phase

  • Government: The government is:
    • Identifying a need
    • Exploring solutions
    • Researching who can provide solutions
    • Defining what success means
    • Exploring contractual mechanisms to buy a solution
  • Industry: Industry is:
    • Trying to influence the government’s thinking in ways that favor them
    • NOTE: Typically the government has not made any announcements about the need or their planning so the only way for industry to engage is if they have established relationships with the government or get “tipped off” about an upcoming need