Learning Organizations: Their Importance to Systems Acquisition in DoD
Col Robert L. Tremaine, USAF (Ret.), and Donna J. Seligman
The success of the Defense Acquisition Workforce depends on experience, and since the majority of what it learns is on-the-job, a wide array of learning techniques dominates. Together, they behave as a learning ecosystem full of opportunities—and even learning hazards. While all these learning techniques jockey for the fastest learning lane amid variable workplace demands, proven learning methodologies help form the foundation of an organization’s learning faith. Many organizations already promote learning in the workplace. But, what have Department of Defense acquisition organizations that operate as Learning Organizations (LOs) implemented to achieve performance gains? The authors of this research sought out such organizations to better understand the key ingredients that make them authentically high-performing and appropriately armed LOs.
Continuous Competition as an Approach to Maximize Performance
Ginny Wydler, Su Chang, and Erin M. Schultz
Research shows that continuing competitive pressure applied during development and production leads to better industry performance, often at reduced cost. However, the entrenched practice of one-time competition for an entire program life cycle often endows the winner with a very strong monopolistic power that lasts for decades. This article describes continuous competition as leverage to acquire more effective results. It offers an alternative method for continuous competition—Competitive Multisourcing with Distributed Awards—under an applicable set of conditions and an appropriate business case.
Past Performance as an Indicator of Future Performance: Selecting an Industry Partner to Maximize the Probability of Program Success
James Bradshaw and Su Chang
The federal contracting process should enable a government organization to select a contractor that will become a true business partner. Today’s source selection processes evaluate how well a contractor proposes a solution; however, the government’s processes are ill suited to evaluate how well a contractor can deliver on its proposal. The Department of Defense (DoD) relies too heavily on the contractor’s proposal versus evaluating past performance. The lack of past performance data and processes to evaluate companies’ qualifications has contributed to program failures, cost overruns, and schedule delays. Without adequate data and processes, the DoD increases its risk of duplicating previous program failures and misses the opportunity to capture this information, thereby preventing repeated mistakes with the same contractor.
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