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FINAL TIPS, ADVICE, AND NOTES ON ASTRO

Hello ASTRO Community!

Wow… How time flies.  It’s always bittersweet to reach this phase of the IDIQ procurement process.  The solicitation will be released very, VERY soon, which marks the official end of market research.  Market Research is by far my most favorite part of the entire process and I can truly say that I absolutely love interacting with clients and Industry and brainstorming creative ideas.  In this regard, combined with the fact that I work with the best team on the planet, I can truly say that I LOVE my job and those of you who know me, know that I am very passionate about my job.  So other than a final post to point to the formal solicitation documents, the team and I wanted to share as much as we could before everything becomes formalized.  So here goes…

General Advice:

  1.  Stay in your lane!  Don’t feel that you need to win multiple Pools.  The number of Pools you are in does not represent the greatness of your company.  Stick to your core competencies and you should do just fine.
  2. Being overly aggressive is very dangerous!  Please don’t try to take credit where you likely KNOW you haven’t earned points.  When evaluators see this happening, it puts us on full alert to pay special attention to all your proposal claims.  We do this anyway, but why put doubt in an evaluator’s mind?  It simply won’t work out for you.
  3. It’s NOT what YOU call it… it’s what the SOLICITATION calls it!  You need to step out of your own vernacular and pay special attention to the definitions and descriptions spelled out in the solicitation.  Interpret things within the context of those definitions and descriptions.  You may consider the gathering of test data to be data operations, but the solicitation does not.  So don’t lose massive points failing to adhere to the solicitation definitions and descriptions.
  4. Beware keyword searches!  Context is critical for this procurement, so don’t just claim things blindly based on a keyword search.  Think about in the proper context and ensure it makes sense.
  5. We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again… Ignore anyone who tries to tell you what you need to score in order to win a Pool because they have no idea what they are talking about!  They don’t know; we don’t know; heck, NOBODY KNOWS!  The fact that relevant experience projects must line up with the functional descriptions of the Pools means that scoring will vary (and potentially vary dramatically) from Pool to Pool.  If your company’s core competencies line up with the scope of work of ASTRO, we highly encourage you to compete no matter what your score may be!

Submission Advice:

  1. Highlighting and Tags!  Make them count! Please make sure that you highlight and “tag” (via any application you like - sticky notes, comment boxes, whatever) your support documents.  If you fail to do this, you will lose ALL associated points!  Additionally, don’t highlight 3 pages of material for a single scoring element.  We are asking… no… BEGGING you to make your highlights and tags accurate and direct to the point.  We’ve had pre-solicitation submissions where there are 20 references for a single scoring element and none of them were correct!  Now how do you think the evaluator feels about the competency of your company after that exercise?
  2. Project numbers!  Make sure there is a contract number, task order number, or some kind of other project number on every single piece of relevant experience documentation that you send as part of your ASTRO submission.  WE WILL NOT CONSIDER DOCUMENTATION THAT WE CANNOT LINK TO THE PROJECT!  YOU WILL LOSE ALL ASSOCIATED POINTS!  Be warned…
  3. Don’t submit solicitation documents for validation purposes.  Instead, send the award document.  Much can change between solicitation and award, so we cannot use a solicitation document for validation purposes.
  4. Don’t submit IDIQ level SOWs for validation of individual task orders!  IDIQ SOWs are essentially a menu of services that the government can order from, but they provide NO proof of what work has actually been done.  Send the task order SOWs!
  5. Lead the way!  Point us to everything you are claiming and assume we know absolutely nothing.  If it takes multiple documents, that’s fine!  Never infer anything!

The ASTRO team would like to thank ALL OF YOU who have provided input and ideas and participated in this incredible market research journey we have gone through together.  We truly BELIEVE in this process of openness and collaboration with Industry.  We KNOW we have a better product because of your inputs and questions. 

In the immortal words of the King, I’d like to “Thank you… Thank you very much!” and wish each and every one of you a GREAT ASTRO DAY!!!

Todd and Team

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